“Mom, you’ve got one foot in the grave. Don’t worry about the water bill!”

The world is going to pot but I’m here in The Nest, living my life. I was born questioning everything, and it looks like I’ll be headed in that direction till I’m in the grave. We don’t like to admit it, but, speaking at least for myself, our core essence seems to change very little.

Even when I was only about four or five years old, I felt a sense of outrage about the cruelty around me. I still remember coming upon a group of boys, back in Holland, who were probably a bit older than me, and the little idiots had gathered up some worms that they were impaling on the ends of a barbed wire fence, yelling with sadistic delight as they watched the worms squirm. I’d like to think I was brave enough to throw a clod of dirt at them, although this I’m not sure about. But the feeling of pity and of wanting to save those worms was there.

My father would have a different view of those worms. He’s told me many times how eating worms and grubs gave him the protein to be one of the few survivors in a concentration camp. He assures me that when Jesus returns we will all be vegetarians and the lion will lie down with the lamb, but in the meantime the buffalo burgers from the Deer Lodge give him strength.

* * *

Today, while babysitting my 92-year-old mom, I saw how little she’s changed. While we were sitting outside enjoying the late afternoon sun, I decided it was a good time to wash my dogs on their nice convenient lawn, surrounded by cement sidewalks and away from any dirt. She enjoyed watching me shampoo little Chico with the natural dog shampoo I’d brought along. But when I was midway through wetting and shampooing Honey, she decided I’d “wasted enough water” and, hanging on to the nearby railing with one hand, she managed to stoop low enough, without falling, to reach down and turn off the faucet!

So there I was, a good distance away from the faucet, with a fully soaked and shampooed Aussie dog and a dry hose.

It was actually very amusing, watching my feisty old mom assert herself. But back when I was a teenager, and would be taking a morning shower before school, my mom would turn the water heater off when she decided I’d been in the shower long enough, and getting sprayed by cold water when I wasn’t done washing my hair made me livid. We had the worst fights, yelling and screaming as I asserted my independence. I even remember once standing in front of the washing machine and slapping her face before I ran off to catch the bus.

But now it’s fifty years later. I laughingly beg her to turn the water back on, and she shows mercy. She turns the water on and off intermittently—just to be sure I know she’s still in charge. There’s no use telling her, “Mom, you’ve got one foot in the grave. Don’t worry about the water bill!”

* * *

buddy542212_685309024830274_335351423_n At the end of the day I do what I always do. I let it all go and rest in the Goddess Pose. Usually I cover my eyes with an eye bag, but the other day there was a surprise package in the mail from a far away friend. Inside was a sweet, soft brown bear—a lavender-scented cuddly buddy. The weight of the bear is perfect to rest across my eyes and forehead–to quiet the movement of my eyes so my mind can find stillness.

Thank you, Juanita Potwin and Hubiecat. The child in me loves my new buddy!

Photo Credit: Olivia Klein

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