My mother has a friend in her assisted living facility. In fact, we have been hearing quite a bit about him over the last year. After exercise class, he always volunteers to wheel her from the class back to her room. My mother is filled with all sorts of stories about how the other women there try to wheedle in, try to sit near him at meal time, or get him to take them back to their rooms after class. He’s much younger than my mother, in his 70s; my mother is 87. My mother doesn’t chase after him like the other residents, she insists. He makes it a point to talk to her every day.
Yesterday as my mother was waiting to go to Thanksgiving dinner at my sister’s studio, we finally met her friend in the lobby of the retirement home. He stood up— a tall, thin, stately man— and said, “Did you know, your mother and I went to Niagara Falls yesterday?”
“Yep. We go lots of places together.”
When we got into the car, mom shared that each day it is one of their turns to suggest some city to visit. She said, “Oh right. Tomorrow’s my turn. I have to think of where we are going to go.”
“Niagara Falls. Hmmmm. That’s a pretty interesting choice. Kinda sexy. Do you talk about doing things together when there? Like going out to eat, visiting sites?”
“Oh yes. That’s what we talk about. A fantasy conversation.”
“What other places have you gone to together?”
“Oh, lots. And it’s my turn tomorrow.” She seemed a little reticent to share any more.
Here’s to the eternal drive for relationship in all its constructively creative manifestations and to the blessings of journeys, real and virtual, that push us to connect beyond our selves.