Yoga Lessons

This post was written in response to a prompt from the red dress club: in which we were supposed to write about happy endings.

My mother was in constant motion.  In the evenings, she would make our clothes at the dining room table, the sewing machine whirring until late into the night.  The following morning, all evidence of my mother’s nighttime sewing would have disappeared except for the new pair of pajamas waiting on the table.  Every day, Mom would do laundry; wash dishes; wipe countertops; vacuum.  At least once a month, she would run a cloth doused in Liquid Gold over the faux wood of the kitchen cabinets—brown with a decorative inset of black where food would invariably get stuck.  She would go grocery shopping.  Take us to doctors' appointments.  Make us lunch.  And then, in the afternoons, before she made dinner, she’d get her book.  My sisters and I would sit on the couch.  Mom would lie down, stretching her legs across our laps, and the contest would be on: The three of us would begin rubbing my mother’s leg, each trying to win the coveted best leg-rubber award.  Mom would read a few pages before her book fell against her chest.
 “Who’s best, Mommy?”
“Hmmmmm?” 
“Who’s best?”
“Too early to tell,” she would murmur.  “Keep going.”
Or we would draw invisible pictures on Mom’s leg.  “What’s this, Mommy?”
“Hmmmmm…a duck?”
“A smiley face!”  And we’d wipe the slate of her leg clean and begin our masterpieces again. 
Eventually, Mom’s leg would become heavy.  The backs of our legs would begin sweating.  We would start to squirm.  And then Mom would wake and start dinner and put on a pot of coffee and head into the shade of the front porch with her girls behind her.  Mrs. P. would walk over, coffee mug in hand, her daughter skipping happily ahead to join us in the lawn.
Mom and Mrs. P. would sit in folding lawn chairs and drink their coffee and talk while the kids put on a gymnastics show.  “Look at me, Mommy!”  One of us would turn a summersault, like that was the best thing in the world. 
“Wow,” Mom would say, turning back again to the neighbor.
“Hey, watch this.”  Mom and Mrs. P. would look again.
 “Look at me, now.”
“Mommy, I’m thirsty.”
“Mommy, I’m hot.”
“Mommy, I’m hungry.”
We’d run into the house.  We’d run out of the house.  We would slam doors and leave doors open and let entire swarms of flies into the house.  With dusty, bare feet, we would track grass and mud onto the clean kitchen tile.  We’d make huge pitchers of Welch’s Grape Drink and dirty three glasses each and I’m fairly certain that on those afternoons on the front porch, Mom and Mrs. P. would exchange no more than three words at a time.
* * *
“Mommy, I’m bored,” someone said one day, once our popsicles had melted and stained our new shirts a rainbow of colors.
“OK,” Mom said.  “I know what you can do.”
“What? What?”  We jumped to attention.
“Yoga.”
“What’s yoga? What do we do? How does that work?”
“Sit down on the lawn.”
We sat.
"Now cross your legs."
We crossed our legs.  “What now, Mommy?”
"Now, bring your left leg up behind your neck."
This took some doing.  There were grunts and groans as we struggled to follow the instructions.  But finally, all four of us had done it.
“Now what?”
Mom looked at Mrs. P.
 Mrs. P. looked at Mom. 
“Now stay that way.”
And Mom and Mrs. P. doubled over themselves in laughter, holding their sides, tears streaming from their eyes, hooting at something that would take us years to understand.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Yoga Lessons

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Yoga Lessons

This post was written in response to a prompt from the red dress club: in which we were supposed to write about happy endings.

My mother was in constant motion.  In the evenings, she would make our clothes at the dining room table, the sewing machine whirring until late into the night.  The following morning, all evidence of my mother’s nighttime sewing would have disappeared except for the new pair of pajamas waiting on the table.  Every day, Mom would do laundry; wash dishes; wipe countertops; vacuum.  At least once a month, she would run a cloth doused in Liquid Gold over the faux wood of the kitchen cabinets—brown with a decorative inset of black where food would invariably get stuck.  She would go grocery shopping.  Take us to doctors' appointments.  Make us lunch.  And then, in the afternoons, before she made dinner, she’d get her book.  My sisters and I would sit on the couch.  Mom would lie down, stretching her legs across our laps, and the contest would be on: The three of us would begin rubbing my mother’s leg, each trying to win the coveted best leg-rubber award.  Mom would read a few pages before her book fell against her chest.
 “Who’s best, Mommy?”
“Hmmmmm?” 
“Who’s best?”
“Too early to tell,” she would murmur.  “Keep going.”
Or we would draw invisible pictures on Mom’s leg.  “What’s this, Mommy?”
“Hmmmmm…a duck?”
“A smiley face!”  And we’d wipe the slate of her leg clean and begin our masterpieces again. 
Eventually, Mom’s leg would become heavy.  The backs of our legs would begin sweating.  We would start to squirm.  And then Mom would wake and start dinner and put on a pot of coffee and head into the shade of the front porch with her girls behind her.  Mrs. P. would walk over, coffee mug in hand, her daughter skipping happily ahead to join us in the lawn.
Mom and Mrs. P. would sit in folding lawn chairs and drink their coffee and talk while the kids put on a gymnastics show.  “Look at me, Mommy!”  One of us would turn a summersault, like that was the best thing in the world. 
“Wow,” Mom would say, turning back again to the neighbor.
“Hey, watch this.”  Mom and Mrs. P. would look again.
 “Look at me, now.”
“Mommy, I’m thirsty.”
“Mommy, I’m hot.”
“Mommy, I’m hungry.”
We’d run into the house.  We’d run out of the house.  We would slam doors and leave doors open and let entire swarms of flies into the house.  With dusty, bare feet, we would track grass and mud onto the clean kitchen tile.  We’d make huge pitchers of Welch’s Grape Drink and dirty three glasses each and I’m fairly certain that on those afternoons on the front porch, Mom and Mrs. P. would exchange no more than three words at a time.
* * *
“Mommy, I’m bored,” someone said one day, once our popsicles had melted and stained our new shirts a rainbow of colors.
“OK,” Mom said.  “I know what you can do.”
“What? What?”  We jumped to attention.
“Yoga.”
“What’s yoga? What do we do? How does that work?”
“Sit down on the lawn.”
We sat.
"Now cross your legs."
We crossed our legs.  “What now, Mommy?”
"Now, bring your left leg up behind your neck."
This took some doing.  There were grunts and groans as we struggled to follow the instructions.  But finally, all four of us had done it.
“Now what?”
Mom looked at Mrs. P.
 Mrs. P. looked at Mom. 
“Now stay that way.”
And Mom and Mrs. P. doubled over themselves in laughter, holding their sides, tears streaming from their eyes, hooting at something that would take us years to understand.

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24 Comments:

At June 8, 2011 at 8:30 AM , Anonymous Susan said...

Great story! What a great mom! Moms of yesteryear were really something, weren't they? My mother always seemed to have so much more patience than I did. Liked the picture of your mother with her legs on your laps and you girls rubbing them. Very sweet vision. It reminded me that I used to sit on the couch while my mother sat on the floor, her head and shoulders between my knees, and I would brush, and brush, and brush her hair. Loved this!

 
At June 8, 2011 at 9:36 AM , Anonymous Bella said...

I'll confess that before even sitting down to read your post, I went to the kitchen, grabbed my mug of coffee, a petite scone and settled into my cushioned chair. Because those preparations are an absolute must when one knows one is going to be treated to a wonderful story. And that's what I've come to expect from your wonderful posts! I smiled at the picture you presented of you, your sister and your Mom. With the hurried pace of life nowadays, I think not many moms can say they have those memories. How sad when it's sounds like such a beautiful one! I can be as busy as I have to be but I make sure to take a few minutes (or whatever he allows) to have quality time with the Son every day. It doesn't matter that he's 19, or that most of the time this quality time is scarcely five minutes, I make sure we make them count. Loved this post, Kelly!

 
At June 8, 2011 at 11:39 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Oh, thanks, Bella. It's so nice to know someone's reading and enjoying this. You're right--we're too rushed today.

 
At June 8, 2011 at 11:41 AM , Anonymous Katie687 said...

I remember this like it was yesterday. Loved it!!!

 
At June 8, 2011 at 11:42 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

I remember when my youngest was born ten years ago, I was just exhausted. So I let the older ones stand on the couch and "fix" my hair. When they were done, I must've had about 55 tiny barrettes, all in primary colors, dangling from the ends of my hair.

 
At June 8, 2011 at 11:44 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

I may have tried this once or twice myself...

 
At June 8, 2011 at 6:27 PM , Anonymous Tracey Hill-Bensalem said...

What a sweet post, a moment captured so beautifully.

 
At June 8, 2011 at 6:42 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading, Tracey!

 
At June 9, 2011 at 1:08 PM , Anonymous Cheryl P. said...

Your posts are always such a treat. It's heartwarming to think of families that have these nice memories of simpler times.

 
At June 9, 2011 at 3:22 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Cheryl. I always so look forward to seeing your--and Bella's--comments. You two make me want to work harder as a writer.

 
At June 9, 2011 at 10:20 PM , Anonymous Carrie said...

Sometimes I wonder how our Mothers did it all. My mom worked part time but I always remember her being there for field trips and skating lessons, making dinner each night and tucking me in.

I love this memory. I can see your mom and Mr.s P laughing their heads off :)

 
At June 9, 2011 at 10:39 PM , Anonymous The MOM said...

Hilarious! I loved the image of your mother sewing into the night, but the evidence being gone by morning except for the completed article of clothing.

Visiting from TRDC - NC Narrator
http://nc-narrations.blogspot.com/2011/06/hope.html

 
At June 10, 2011 at 12:51 AM , Anonymous Iam VictoriaK said...

Love the ending!

I really love the flow of your writing, so easy to read and visualise.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 3:30 AM , Anonymous Amy Worley said...

Wonderful! I can just see the kids trying to stay in this pose. Your mom was a hoot!

 
At June 10, 2011 at 5:21 AM , Anonymous Terry Stoufer said...

The whole story was happy...what beautiful memories, and with the detail you used I feel like I was right there watching.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 1:13 PM , Anonymous Valerie said...

I just loved this! What sweet memories of a wonderful, clever mother:) I had a friend years ago who's mother taught us all to stand on our heads, and I remember watching her vacuum her living room carpet in a house dress and little gold slippers. At the time, I thought a mom like that was pure magic! Seems odd now, but not back then:)

 
At June 10, 2011 at 5:29 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading, Valerie! Yeah, my sisters and I were close in age and got into lots of trouble. I would've done the same thing, if I'd thought of it.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 5:30 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Terry! I'm really working on incorporating more details, so this helps.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 5:31 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

My mom probably had to try anything to keep us in line! Finally, we were all sitting and in one place! But probably not for long...

 
At June 10, 2011 at 5:32 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading, Vikki!

 
At June 10, 2011 at 5:35 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading! My mom and sisters are all talented seamstresses. I, unfortunately, am not. No kids of mine will find any outfits waiting for them on the table in the morning.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 5:36 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

My mother certainly worked--and works--harder than I do. She canned and quilted and gardened and today is a potter. Thanks for reading, Carrie!

 
At June 10, 2011 at 10:46 PM , Anonymous The Drama Mama said...

This was fabulous. Your mom sounds like a hoot.

 
At June 11, 2011 at 7:38 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for coming over to read!

 

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