Jeanne Ellin: The other kind of love; street grandmothering; one day my chair will come

older woman hand holding toddler hand

Banner with Jeanne Ellin's quoteOn Valentine’s Day I find myself thinking, not about romantic love, Eros with his arrows and little nappy, but that of his lesser-known brother, Agape, the love of others that is freely given, comes with no expectation, confers no burden on the recipient.

older woman hand holding toddler handSomehow opening to that flow of self-replenishing love is warming and fulfilling. No disappointment, no resentment – it is freely offered and let go of. When I set myself new goals after acquiring my menagerie of conditions, one was to love more. In working towards that I have found a great deal of joy. I want to work towards extending my capacity for love, to laugh more and learn more about all sources of joy. All achievable goals.

Being a grandmother is hard to contain sometimes. I was passing a metal fibre-optic box; a young man was just settling down in his folding chair to work in it. It had begun to spit with rain and he struggled to lift his hood over his head with his free hand. Before I thought twice, I was pulling it up for him and smoothing it into place with a pat. He was a little disconcerted but I reassured him, “Don’t worry, I am a grandmother.” As I walked on we were both laughing.

The perils and wonders of walking are still fresh for me from my grandsons’ recent learning and my own ongoing struggles with balance. I saw a toddler moving along the pavement with that brave rush they utilise when stopping is a skill that has not yet been mastered. A world of foreign knees and strange shoes, hard surfaces and brave efforts. I smiled in sympathy and the wordless exchange must have been successful, because he veered determinedly towards me and offered tiny knuckles for shared skin!

Saving for my wonder chair

At last I have managed to place the deposit for my wonder chair! It will do everything but sing. Next week someone will come to help me choose the fabric, then, when my payment has cleared, it will be ordered. The keel laid perhaps? Because I am not of standard dimensions it has to be made to fit, and will have its own table which will fold down, will rise or recline on command and comes with heating massage for pain relief, as I cannot take common pain killers, nor rare ones for that matter.

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I have been saving very hard and will save even harder for the second instalment; no hairdresser visits since August, no newspapers, no new underwear and the food bill trimmed and re-trimmed. Well, I am fortunate to have that much margin to work with and proud of my efforts.

A useful learning experience; when I can ease up I will still try to build up some savings again but at a more comfortable rate.

About Jeanne Ellin

I am a poet working at living a creative life in a one room flat, companioned by a menagerie of chronic health problems. I began this series of posts after being inspired by two women younger than myself, who, fearful of their imagined old age spent in ill health and poverty, committed suicide. I explore every year as a bonus of adventures, with moments of discomfort or fear, but with unexpected treasure to be found - helped by a sense of the ridiculous, a world perspective and creativity.