Tuesday, November 27, 2007

There's no place like mom's home

As it turned out, we did end up courtesy parking at our friends' rented house in Indian Wells--but only for a day. Some official-looking person came knocking at the door to inform us we had to move our trailer immediately. No big surprise. We knew we were pushing our luck. However, we enjoyed our time at David and Sheri's.

My quick impression of the Indian Wells/Palm Desert area was favorable. It is clean and modern and, of course, the weather was perfect. Robert got to play some golf with David and another friend, Ted, from back home who lives here in winter. We girls shopped along the trendy stores of the El Paseo as well as the weekend Street Fair. I took some long walks around the neighborhood taking in the wonderful Palm Springs residential architecture.

This morning we left for Mesa, Arizona to visit my mother and sister. We've decided to store the Airstream and Tahoe here while we fly home for a few weeks. My mother met us at the door and ushered us straight to dinner. Her table was set for company with water goblets and linen napkins. Her house was spotless and glowing, all for us. My sister rushed over from her boyfriend's house (he lives across the street) and even the new dog my mother rescued seemed happy to see us.

As everyone settled in I wandered the house looking at photos and trinkets and other reminders of family. Photos of me, Robert, our children are everywhere in that tiny house. To her, we are the most important people on the earth. Hadn't I noticed that before? I took that thought with me into her laundry room where I unloaded our dirty clothes. Without the vague sense of indebtedness that accompanies using someone else's washing machine I piled our clothes into hers. I thought about the comfort and relief there is in this guiltless access. In my mother's home I don't think twice about rummaging the refrigerator or plopping on the sofa. I am treated like a guest without having to behave like one. After four months on the road this a good feeling.

I dumped in the liquid detergent and dropped the lid on the machine. As the tub filled with rushing water I thought about my skills at observation. For the past two years I've documented the world around me. I've dissected every little thing and then put it back together in some clever and compact narrative. I'm busy writing about the interesting people and places we're meeting on our journey. I write about how I feel about those things. Now here, in my mother's closet-sized laundry room I see something I'd not noticed before: my mother also documents my life. And in doing so she validates my life in a way nothing and no one else can. That, too, is a good feeling.

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