Beyond words
Saturday October 22nd 2022, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

There was a woman’s conference at church. They were holding the first half of it in the room with the worst acoustics in the building by far and I knew I wouldn’t hear a word. Everybody would be part of a shared experience except the woman in the back who doesn’t laugh or gasp or whatever sympathetic thing along with the crowd and how awkward is that for the speaker who doesn’t know. I didn’t want to go.

But when I considered the thing last night, I realized I felt kind of starved for some people time and the very fact that they were finally holding this again was like the Before Times. And that was a privilege. Besides, you can’t do anything for anybody if you don’t show up.¬†I would wear a mask anyway, so my face wouldn’t cause much of a problem, right?

I made very sure I had some knitting with me.

And man, that room was as bad as ever.

And man, did I mess up that pattern and had to just stop about 45 minutes in and put it down; after I got home I tinked back 2/3, but never mind, I fixed it–and messed it up again and ripped it again and fixed it again and that time it actually was fixed and stayed fixed but the whole thing was not one of my more shining moments with a ball of yarn. But at least, in public, it made it look to anyone else like I could do fancy lacy things with yarn–just don’t squint.


When I walked in, I was waved over and invited to a table by some very kind soul I wasn’t sure I’d ever laid eyes on. Who turned out to be a friend of my daughter’s. I started to feel rescued from myself. We found ourselves seated for a breakfast that I’d thought was going to be a lunch at the end so I’d already eaten and I don’t normally like breakfast much in the first place and looking at that lovely fruit plate, I certainly wasn’t going to explain Crohn’s to strangers. But I didn’t dare touch it.

Across from me was a young mom with a small baby, about four months old. Those right around her apparently knew her and chatted with her.

But she was struggling harder than I was to cheer up. ¬†Sleepless nights of early babyhood are hard–or maybe it was postpartum depression, I worried. If I’d thought I was isolated these past few days with no car, remember what it’s like to be at that stage, I told myself.

I ran into a friend after that and we caught up a bit and were late heading into a classroom and tiptoed quietly in at the back.

Right behind that mom.

Her baby fussed a little. I distracted his attention. He smiled. I wiggled a finger puppet on my hand.

She offered silently, Did I want to hold him?

My face lit up. And how!

Oh I tell you. All that pent-up grandmotherhood came pouring out for that sweet little face, and the best thing you can do for the mother of a baby is to adore her child like he’s the most beautiful human being you’ve ever seen. Because he is, every one of them is. Even when they’re fussy. They just are. And so he and I made friends and she–

–she started laughing quietly. At his antics, mine, for sheer joy, and when he finally decided okay, I want my mommy now and started reaching her way I handed him right back and thanked her profusely (quietly) for the great privilege.

She walked out of there happy.

So did I.

Friends forever.

Tell me her name again? I didn’t quite catch it.

3 Comments so far
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You needed, and were needed, to be there. So happy you could. Babies are true joy, even when fussy.

Comment by DebbieR 10.23.22 @ 10:33 am

Ah, how wonderful for you, her, and the baby! You were where you needed to be.

Comment by ccr in MA 10.23.22 @ 12:55 pm

What a lovely anecdote. You were the solution to each other’s problems! Nicely done.

Comment by NGS 10.24.22 @ 7:25 am

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