When I’m a little old lady

The other evening I went to Eldest’s college choir concert, accompanied by my 17 year old daughter and my two 9 year old sons. Partway through the concert I noticed an elderly lady sitting a couple rows ahead of us. She was probably 70, with carefully arranged salt-and-pepper curls, a cardigan wrapped around thin shoulders, and ears adorned with antique-looking clip-on earrings. Next to her sat a smooth-cheeked 40-ish man in a sweatshirt and jeans, obviously her son.

The son sat with his arm draped over his mother’s shoulder, leaning down now and then to speak quietly into her ear. Watching them, I realized how rare it is in our society to see an adult man sitting with his arm around his mother. I imagined how it must feel to be that little old lady, savoring the warm presence of her son, and basking in his public acknowledgement of her value to him.

I wondered about the kind of mother she’d been when he was small. I imagined her cutting grilled cheese sandwiches into triangles and applying bandaids and hugging, hugging, hugging. Probably she imagined those hugs being passed by him on to his own wife and children some day. Maybe as a young mother she’d never imagined this moment far in the future when his strong arm would also shelter her frail one.

I never imagined it for myself until I saw that mother and son. But when I saw it, the sweetness of it filled me with yearning. I knew I was seeing something precious and realized that I would be very fortunate indeed to someday share an hour like that with my own sons.

And so I leaned towards the son closest to me, my oldest 9 year old. I put my arm around him and right there in the middle of the choir concert I spoke softly into his ear. “Do you see that old lady and her son up there? When you’re as big as that man and I’m a little old lady, will you put your arm around me like that sometime?”

He looked over at the two of them, and he got that head-ducking ‘ah, mom’ smile that boys get when moms get mushy. But then he straightened up and looked me right in the eye, so I could see the answer coming straight from his soul. “Yes.”

And as we smiled into each other’s eyes my heart melted into a little puddle at his feet. Then we both turned back to listen to the music, but my arm still rested over his shoulder, treasuring both the moment right now and holding onto that sweet promise for the future.

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  1. What a great description! That is so sweet.

  2. Sniff. That was beautiful!

  3. Just for the record, I intend NOT to be old at 70 either! If my very young 60-something mom is any indicator, I have a good chance at it! But hugs from loved ones are good whether you’re old or young.

  4. again it made me teary 🙂

  5. Very touching.

  6. I’m 77 yrs old and my son is 52. I consider myself blessed. He has lavished hugs and kisses on me since he was a teenager.

  7. okay, that was the most touching thing I’ve read in a long time. that made me cry.