Restless Mind, Restless Fingers

Last night, when my mother tried on one of her old rings, she was surprised to find that it�s now much too large for her finger. But instead of being concerned, she smiled and said, �And to think I once had pretty hands.�

Earlier, when she couldn�t find the ring, I looked for it in the little white box I keep in the drawer by my bed. The box contains the few jewelry items most precious to her � things she misplaced so often that she was relieved when I finally put them away. At the time, there were only three or four pieces in the box. But when I looked last night, I found several other odds and ends, among them inexpensive rings, a necklace, and an old tie clasp. The important things were still there, but they were now part of a jumble that belied their sentimental value.

Quite often, after I�ve been away on errands, I notice various things have been moved around the house � books, papers, knick-knacks, photo albums, things on her desk, on her dining table, and on her kitchen counter. There is rarely any sense to their new arrangement, no harmony or friendship between design and function. Restless mind, restless fingers. On the bright side, there is nothing that indicates unhappiness.

My mother doesn�t eat enough, but she looks good and feels well, and she is seldom disturbed by her inability to pursue matters to their natural conclusion. Her expression is that of someone who is easily, if not permanently, distracted. There are also beautiful, heartbreaking, poetic moments when she looks downright crazy. And yet she is so reasonable about it that sometimes I wonder if I�m the crazy one.

November 11, 2006

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