Today I have a special treat for you all. As many of you know I participate in a local writer’s group here in RI. As a Mother’s Day treat, I get to share one of my very favorite pieces written by fellow writer Marge Vorhaben. I have had the privelage of hearing and reading a number of this wonderful writer’s essays, and am honored to have her here today. This piece, made me tear up the first time I heard her read it at group and then again, at our recent Spring gathering. May it be a reminder and encouragement for you today! Happy Mother’s Day!
When my oldest daughter was 18 months old, I herniated a disc in my lower back. I could not stand up straight, and was in great pain from knee to rib cage. It became my habit each morning to quickly gather up all the necessary items for the day in the t.v. room, then lure Ellie in and shut the door. She was no dummy. After the second day of this she caught on and refused to follow. I couldn’t lift her. I resorted to dropping chocolate covered raisins on the floor in a line leading to the den. When I’d trapped her like a stray cat, I slammed the door and melted on the couch.
By day 4 , things were getting dicey.”Marge! Where are you?” Yelled Cindy’s concerned but friendly voice from beyond the locked front door. “I’m in here!” I called back, like an earthquake victim summoning help from the wreckage. It LOOKED like an earthquake had hit. I was incapable of picking up anything off the floor. Ellie was a whirling dervish. She regularly practiced for Olympic events in our home….hurdling over furniture, shot putting anything she could lift,sprinting down hallways, performing impossible tasks of agility and climbing on walls and tables. Each night when my husband returned from work he would kindly undo the damage, but by 9 am the next morning we were back to square one, mentally and physically.
Cindy found her way in through the unlocked back entrance. She threw open the den door, deftly stopping Ellie from immediate escape with a gentle hug, then sized up the situation .
” I knew you weren’t fine” she said referring to our phone conversation from the night before. I didn’t want to ask for her help, knowing she had her own two girls to look after. She saw right through my lie, as good friends always do, and spared me the lecture, another measure of our friendship.
After a hug and a brief update on my medical status, she turned her attention to Ellie. She quickly wrestled her to the ground, strapped on a fresh diaper and wiped her runny nose. She swept the debris from the den floor back into the toy box. She set Ellie in her high chair with a puzzle and kept her next to the sink while she tidied my kitchen, patiently listening to the toddler chatter that had recently come to set my teeth on edge. She tended my neglected dogs. After packing the diaper bag, she handed me a glass of water, a sandwich, the remote, and two tablets of codeine.
“I’ll take Ellie to the park when my girls get home from school,then bring her back here for supper. I left a tuna casserole in your fridge.” She located the phone and handed it to me.
“Call me if you need me, you moron”, she quipped. She kissed me on the cheek and was gone.
I nearly wept from relief.
Nike has it right : Just Do It. You needn’t ask if someone wants help, just help.
Pick up the trash.
Hold the door.
Carry the package.
Choose the kind words.
Pull the weeds.
Mind the children.
Bring the casserole. Or beer. Or brownies. Or coffee. Or all four.
Save your drowning friend from her own pride and stupidity.
Just do it.
Marjorie Vorhaben might be a former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model turned home day care provider. Or not. Either way she definitely lives and writes in South County, Rhode Island and keeps the locals, including her husband Keith and daughters Ellie, Margaret and Anna in stitches. The family resides with 2 dogs and a cat. Occasionally mice, then no mice and a fatter cat.
*Look for more of Marjorie and the wonderfully wordy other local RI writers in the upcoming 2014-2015 Anthology by the Neighborhood Guild Creative Writer’s Group (coming soon)
Check out last year’s Anthology available: HERE!