Your Family Finds You

Yes, at just six weeks short of my 71st birthday, I seem to have acquired a new mother. When did I realize this? When I ran into her in a neighborhood store today and she:
  1. Told me which pastries to buy to take to a friend.
  2. Informed me that mashed potatoes and chicken broth were what I should be eating while recovering from a stomach virus. and
  3. Told me I should take Pepto Bismol.

Now you might view this as simply examples of a caring neighbor. But there's more. She not only gave me homemade chicken soup but also stopped off to buy me the Pepto Bismol. She the proceeded to lecture me on the need to always have Pepto Bismol and Alka Seltzer in the house.

That was just before she told me that I needed different feeding dishes for my cats. And gloated that I'd given in and started buying the brand of cat food she's recommended.

In the past couple of months, she's given me many life lessons, from what to eat t recommendations for doctors to a hypnotist noted for working on weight loss. We share wonderful conversations, and while I'd like to think that we support each other, there's also no doubt in my mind who's the boss.

Oh - and she seems to be retraining my cats when she cat-sits.

The funny thing is, my new mother is more than twenty years younger than me. And Russian. (I'm Italian and German.) And I didn't even know that we were friends until she informed me of this fact. We've known each other for years, and i was fond of her dog, who was deeply attached to a friend's dog, but we'd never spent any social time together until I asked if she would be willing to feed my cats when I travelled. She wouldn't let me pay her, informing me that we were friends.

A few evenings a month, we sit in her kitchen, talking about her lives. Hers is fascinating. She tells me about her childhood in the former Soviet Union, of her beloved grandmother, of how she got to be a flight attendant. I tell her about starting out in a small town, ending up in New York City, and thriving in the 60's (which are actually the 70's).

I'm now the eldest in my branch of my birth family. The clan is scattered across the country. We don't get together as often as we once did. This means that, increasingly, it's my family of choice I turn to for support. I never thought that, in building this family, I would acquire another mother this late in life. Still, I'm glad I have.