Like old molasses

SeasonsFor Lindsay, watching her mother tend to laundry stirred the same emotions as watching her children climb to the top of the swing set.

“Mom, be careful!”

Dorothy held the basket of dirty clothes in both hands and leaned against the handrail as she one-stepped her way to the basement.

“I’m fine,” Dorothy said. “I do this all the time.”

Lindsay grabbed the handrail, which shivered in her hand as many in older homes do. “This isn’t sturdy.”

“It’s fine. I know how to do this.” Dorothy set the basket on the floor to switch on the light. The basement darkness disappeared in orange brightness.

Dorothy took a cleansing breath and leaned over to pick up the basket.

“How do you get the clothes back upstairs?”

Dorothy set the basket down and leaned against the door jamb to the laundry room. “Sometimes your father takes it up for me. But I can always take up a few pieces at a time.” She smiled at Lindsay. “It’s fine.”

Lindsay’s father used a cane. Trips from room to room were slow. Like old molasses.

“It must take all day to do the laundry.”

“We have to do it,” Dorothy said. “We manage just fine.”stairs

Lindsay called her brother later in the day. “OK, I get it now. It’s time, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Jim said. “We need changes before one of them falls.”

“I’m not ready to parent my parents.”

“Get ready,” Jim said. “If you love them, get ready.”

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