Wednesday, April 03, 2013

water aerobics with the ladies

The thing about my mother ... is that she knows everyone. 


She knows everyone's name and their spouse's name and if they have children - their children's (and grandchildren's) names. Mom knows where they live and what they did (or do) for a living and chances are, my mother has invited them to play a game of cards with her and Jim. I don't know how she does this - but my mother connects with people on a level that I can't even comprehend.  For as much as I like to talk (or write and write and write), I'm an introvert and hardly ever answer the phone at our house and will usually (if not always) hide when people ring the doorbell. I'm not sure if that makes me an introvert or a freak. The jury's still out...


But my mother?  She would never run away from a ringing phone or doorbell. She embraces people. All people. Young and old. Black and white and every color in between. For example, riding up in the elevator with a perfect stranger from the lobby to the 6th floor, my mother will make small talk that will be so warm and engaging, the stranger will probably get off the elevator and hang around and chat for another 20 minutes before coming over to dinner that night. Or when I took my mother on a business trip to Palm Springs 12 years ago, she befriended a passenger on the bus that she then toured the town with for the next three days. I think they still exchange Christmas or Hanukkah or Ramadan cards. Whomever they are, my mother befriends all people.


I may have written about it before - anything's possible in the seven years (!!!) that I've been blogging about the adventure that is our life, but once upon a time - when I was in or around fifth grade, I won a bicycle in a raffle drawing at my elementary school.  At the time, I was living with my mother in a one-bedroom apartment and I would lock my highly coveted bicycle to the stairs that led up to our home. One day, I happened to hear something stirring at the bottom of the stairs and looked out our glass door only to see that there was a THIEF trying to STEAL my bicycle.  From what I could gather from my position crouched near the door, they were two shady teenagers that lived up the street and they were doing their best to pick the lock.


Well! You might imagine my fearful fury.

But my mother, who was cooking dinner - wasn't afraid or mad. She simply opened the door and said, "Good evening! How are you kids doing?" Then she calmly walked down the stairs and looked them in the eye and sat down on the steps and talked to them.  For several minutes, she talked to them. She didn't accuse them or say a single derogatory word. She talked with them about their families and what they wanted to be when they grew up and had either of them ever considered a career in medicine?

In the end, my mother invited the kids - who were attempting to steal my bicycle - in to our home and gave them ice cream cones.  And I'm sure those kids took a silent vow to protect our home and it's inhabitants for as long as we lived there.  Because that's the kind of influence my mother has on people.

These are my mother's water aerobic friends from Florida.


Every morning at 11 AM, from November through April, my mother goes to water aerobics and while some of these women are residents that are there every day - others are vacationers passing through. Regardless of who they are or how long they're there, or whether or not they'll ever come back, my mother knows them and their life history.  It's important to note that when water aerobics are in session, the pool is OFF LIMITS to anyone who is not in the class.


But my mother introduced my children to all of these lovely women.  And because all of these women adore my mother - by process of association, they adore her grandchildren - and actually invited the children in to the pool and then took no exception to them snorkeling all around as they practiced their heel lifts and various aquatic squats.


If more people were like my mother, I think there would be more peace on earth.