She is the best. Well, isn’t it a mother’s prerogative to be a fierce advocate for her offspring? And she is, the very best.
She is my explorer. My rock climber and hiker. My world traveler, so brave she actually loves traveling solo. And she wants to make the world a better place. She would say her passion is travel. I would argue her passion really is the second thing.
She works at a non-profit that finds transitional housing and other essential services for the homeless in her city. In this season of holidays, she has worked to prepare and help serve festive meals for their clients. And sit down to eat and talk with them. She has made friends with the older guy who sleeps every night on the stoop of her place of business. She tells me he rates it an excellent stoop, because it is high enough that the sidewalk slopes down to the street and so the rains drain away from his somewhat drier spot.
She makes it a point to smile every day and say hello to the young woman who always shelters in a doorway a few doors down from her office, even though that young woman is unable to trust humanity enough to respond back to friendly overtures.
Working with the homeless often means working with all sorts of mental disorders and addictions. It is some of the most difficult work because you have to set clear boundaries (some of those clients excel at emotional manipulation) and you can’t take your work home with you. It is especially hard for introverts (she gets that from me).
This week I had a short but sweet conversation with my daughter, who now lives in Portland, Oregon. I called after seeing a news video about buses sliding down streets there into parked cars, due to the icy, snowy weather. We chatted about how she has to walk to work, or some distance to a bus stop, and yep, it’s pretty slippery out there. She could have stayed home from work one day this week, sanctioned by her boss, but went in to work anyway. She walked forty minutes to get there, then forty minutes home, watching carefully for slippery patches.
She could have stayed home, cozy in her cute apartment in a Victorian house, chatting with her roommates. She could have had hot coffee in her p.j.s and robe, snuggled in on her couch. She could have taken a nap or worked on her jigsaw puzzle. But instead, she dressed and bundled up and made her way into work.
Because one of her clients needed someone to go to his radiation treatment with him.
I love this woman, my baby, with all my heart. She humbles me and makes me proud all at once. Oh, and as soon as we ended that conversation I ordered some slip-on ice cleats to be shipped to her.