“Thank you so much for coming over, dear.   It means so much to me.”

“That’s all right, Grandma, it’s not like Glen or Myra would take the time.”

“I know, honey and you’re such an angel to come all the way out here just to help me out.”

“Sure thing.  Same thing as last week, take laundry to the basement and dust and vacuum?”

“Yes, dear, thank you so much.  How have you been doing lately?”

“Oh, you know, Grandma.  Overloaded at work, Steve and the kids pull me a million different directions at once and there’s never enough time in the day to do anything outside of the house.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a spare minute to myself.”

“Steve doesn’t help with the kids?”

“Well… he does, sort of.  I mean he coaches their soccer and baseball teams but all the uniform washing, organizing and meals and snacks fall to me.”

“Oh, that’s too bad, honey.  It sounds like you’re running yourself ragged.”

“I guess.  Most nights when my head hits the pillow I can’t remember everything I’ve done during the day.  It’s all a blur.  Speaking of, I really need to get that laundry going, Grandma.”

“Oh, yes, don’t let me keep you.”

The house fell nearly quiet as Stacey bustled off to the bathroom and the hamper full of clothes.  It was only one load and not heavily soiled but it would still take at least an hour to wash and dry.  Her Grandma would fold and put the clothes away.  It was just the steps up and down from the basement that kept her from doing this chore.  Her footsteps down the aged stairs and the water wooshing into the wash machine tub were barely audible upstairs and lost on the older woman.

She seemed to be dozing when Stacey returned to begin vacuuming .  When the vacuum started up with its high whine though, she perked up also.  She watched her granddaughter vacuum as if it were an action/adventure movie even though it took only about 20 minutes.  When the whine subsided, she tried once again.

“So, how is work, honey?”

“Oh, you know, Grandma.  Never enough hours in the day to get everything done they want or expect you to do.  It seems like their solution to everything in the office is to reduce staff and expect the remaining ones to work more and/or work overtime which isn’t an option for me with the kids and everything.”

“That’s too bad, dear.  And staying at home isn’t an option?”

“Oh, Grandma, maybe when you were younger it was possible but these days with kids’ activities and all our expenses, I have to work.  I almost took a second job last month because we’re struggling to make ends meet!”

“I guess it was a different time when your Grandpa and I were raising a family.  We had a flock of chickens and a cow and-”

“Grandma, I really need to get to the dusting if I want to get finished by the time the laundry’s done and those clothes should be done in the wash soon…”

“Sorry, honey, you go on and take care of that.”

She pursed her lips and watched as the young woman headed for the door to the basement.  Once again the house fell nearly silent and remained that way even when her granddaughter came back up and busied herself with dusting and straightening things in the bedroom and kitchen.  The older woman looked out the front room window as the dry October grass waved in the wind.  Even this sound was lost to her like the passage of time until the hamper landed with a soft ‘whumph’ next to her rocker.

“Well, that does it, Grandma.  I better be going.”

“Thank you, dear.  Sure you can’t stay for a minute.  I’d love to hear what the kids are up to these days.”

“Oh, you know, baseball and school and whatever else they have to do.  I need to get going if I’m going to get Timmy to piano at 5:30.”

She bent down and pecked the older lady on the cheek.

“You take care of yourself, Grandma and we’ll see you next week.”

“Okay, honey.  Bye bye…”

The door shut before the echo of her last words resonated through the house; the sound of the mini-van starting and driving off, imperceptible to her.  Only the hamper of still-warm clothes remained.  A reminder of the hour or so the younger woman had been there.

She looked around the four walls of her small home at the pictures of Art and her with all the kids and then grandkids.  Here and there, stuck in the frames were school photos of the great grandkids she only knew through stories.  They never came around much, usually only Christmas and maybe Easter.

Two days out of 365.

It hardly seemed worth it to stick around.

To be needed, to be loved, to know and to be known.  I can’t think of many other elemental parts of being alive.  We should all strive and expect these things.

Each week I try and examine and give my impression of different parts of life.  Sometimes they’re unvarnished and hard to look at and sometimes not.  If you would like to read some of my past writing, click here to go to the home page.  I hope what I write makes a connection with you and that you’ll choose to subscribe to my blog.  Subscribing is free and means you will receive an email with links to the week’s posts on Sundays.  I never sell or share emails so you don’t need to worry about getting a bunch of spam.  Subscribe here by clicking this or at the home page.