One of the things that happens when your world gets smaller is that your small problems seem to take on giant proportions. So it is with The Chair.
Immediately after the first surgery, I mentioned to my son that I really needed a better place to sit while downstairs: the futon couch was uncomfortable, and really the wrong shape for someone who isn’t supposed to bend her body more than 90 degrees. And the couches in the living room are big puffy leather—tough to get out of even if you are a supple and uninjured teenager.
Jonathan the Acquisitive said, “Gee Mom, I could use the futon in the basement where we watch tv.” “Done!” I shouted, glad to get rid of the ugly, uncomfortable thing.
And so I spent a couple of nights cyber-shopping, ending up with the purchase of a 1 ½ sized lounge chair and hassock—and the chair makes into a single bed. The transaction was flawless: it was on sale at JC Penny, the store was happy to put the purchase on my account, and two VERY LARGE boxes showed up about a week later in my garage.
The issue, however, was the largest box, which contained the warning: HEAVY! Must be moved by two persons.
Lots of persons walked by it during the next six weeks, many remarking on its size, or speculating on the contents. I really didn’t think too much about it: the futon was gone from my house, and I had other concerns more pressing and immediate. Besides, I really couldn’t visit the garage much…just the occasional trip to the doctor or the hospital, remember?
But then it was Christmastime, I am back home, and Sarah is here. I’m in the hospital bed in the living room, Sarah is sleeping in my bed in the loft, and the two of us are pretty well confined to the same small living space, 24-7. The chair is becoming an issue— if there were a chair, hockey games and Barenaked Ladies could be moved to another area of the house. Better yet, *I* could move to another area of the house and have a comfortable place to sit.
Several conversations with my men friends went like this: “What do you need? How can I help?”
“Well, there’s this chair in the garage in a large box. I’d really really like it in the study.”
“Oh, that BIG box? It will take two people, right?”
“Yes. And will probably need to come in the house through the sliding patio doors.”
“Ummm. Well, let me see if I can think of someone who could help me with that. Shouldn’t take much. I’ll get back to you.”
As I begin feeling better, that box got larger. And larger. I tell Sarah I would pay a couple of kids home from college to move the chair in the house…I just don’t know any kids.
Then Bobbie calls—she is happily playing her Holiday Jewish Mother role: her two daughters are home, and have brought their friends, and her tiny apartment is populated by 3 dogs, 5 women, and one city-boy male. She is cooking and entertaining in joyful Christmas chaos!
I enquire into the strength of the citified guy and wonder if any of those young women have muscular boyfriends. “Oh, for heaven’s sakes,” Bobbie says. “Don’t PAY anyone—we’ll all come over and move the chair!”
And so, in a few hours Bobbie and her two daughters show up. Guests are apparently for feeding, not working, but “We can do this!” And so it is that Bobbie, Kate, Julie and Sarah accomplish in an hour what has been building into an insurmountable problem for 8 weeks—the chair is brought from the garage to the deck on a sled (who but Julie would have a sled in the car? One never knows when a good snowy hill will appear…). They push the chair down the hall to the study, remove the cardboard and the strapping, screw in the legs and casters, figure out how to release the bed mechanism, and generally ooooh and aaaah over how nicely the chair matches the burgundy carpeting and how comfortable the whole thing is.
Then they clean up the mess—leftover staples, cardboard, tape, melting snow and other debris while Bobbie and I sit in the kitchen congratulating ourselves on our success at raising such beautiful and ingenious and independent young women.
And later, after guests have left and Sarah is in the other room, happily ensconced in the giant lounge chair in front of the tv watching a Redwings game, I reflect on love and sisterhood and the vibrant community of women who are supporting me with their incredible strength.