Lessons from an old lady

Lessons from an old lady

My mother always used to say that there were representatives from every state and every country in Disney World. And we, her children, would say that she met and spoke to each and every single one of those people. Standing on line waiting to check in to the hotel, standing on line waiting for rides, standing on line waiting for ice cream, standing on line waiting for the monorail — that is when my mom would do her best work. And then we would get to hear stories about all the people she spoke to and where they were from and how they came to be at Disney World. Yes, we learned how to roll our eyes at a very young age, never appreciating the fact that our mother was just a very friendly person.

My dad, on the other hand, was off on a bench somewhere reading a book (unless, of course, my mom would wander into a shop, and then my dad would wait on line with us.) The differences in their personalities could not have been more obvious, but I guess that has been what has kept them together for all these years. Opposites do attract, after all.

Fast forward to when I became a parent. Whenever we would go on a family outing, if I started to talk to a stranger, it would become known as “pulling a mama,” because my boys knew that my mother would have done the same thing — talking to a complete and total stranger, but acting like we had known each other for years. Now, I would tell them that my excuse for speaking with people I didn’t know was because when you are driving in a car for a zillion hours with only boys, going to baseball games with only boys, sharing a motel room with only boys, it’s nice to speak to a woman every now and again. Even if it is someone you have never met before.

My mom’s excuse for talking to strangers was, well, quite honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it was because she didn’t like talking to me? Probably. Yes, I still have middle child syndrome. Just leave it alone, it is never going away. My little strudel is the only one who truly understands me. God bless her adorable little heart.

Anyway, so that was the joke. Even to this day, when Husband #1 sees me talking to someone we don’t know, or I tell the kids about some random person I met somewhere, they make fun of me. They say that I am “pulling a mama.”

So this brings us to this past weekend. I am not going to write about what happened over the weekend until next week, for reasons that I will discuss next week (man, I am so mysterious and annoying all at the same time), but here is the story. I was sitting outside the waiting room of the emergency room at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. You aren’t allowed to be in the waiting room unless you are a patient because of this whole pandemic thing, but if you cannot go anywhere, you are forced to sit outside. It was like 5 degrees this past Shabbos, but for obvious reasons, I couldn’t be driving all over town, so I just zipped up my coat, put on my gloves, and hoped that my BMI would keep me nice and toasty. I had noticed that there was a young man sitting across from me, but I did not say a word to him. This was for two reasons — reason number one, it was too cold to talk, and reason number two, I could hear my family making fun of me if I did talk to him. So I just sat there quietly.

Anyway, all of a sudden, we hear a little kid start screaming from inside one of the treatment rooms. And the guy across from me starts crying to me, “That is my kid. He is 2. It is all my fault that he is screaming!!” And he starts to tell me how he was playing around with him and his little boy tripped and hit his head on the corner of the couch and now he needs stitches. So, of course, I helped calm the guy down, and told him that in a few years, when this little boy is a teenager, he will forget all about this incident and yell at him about something else. You know, older parent wisdom stuff…. When I told Husband #1 the story, he was about to call me by my mother’s name, and I got to say, “He started talking to me so that totally doesn’t count.”

Yup, that’s it, that is the whole story. I hope you enjoyed it. Next week’s column will be a little more interesting.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck still cannot believe that none of her monkeys have winter break. Does anyone want to take her away with their family?

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