My Walking Wise Woman

I met this woman, when I was somewhere between the ages of 10 – 12.  She was maybe 12 years older than I, married and with two small children.  She and her husband had just moved into our neighborhood, and because they were very active in theater groups, they were looking for a trustworthy, nearby babysitter.

As the oldest of several siblings, I'd had plenty of experience with that.  Getting paid for what I was expected to do at home for "nothing" sounded like perfection to me.  Mom liked this woman very much, and all of a sudden, I had myself a real, bonafide, money paying job.  With GREAT benefits: watching whatever I wanted on TV [not much to choose from back then], great snacks, and a legitimate reason to stay up late and read.  The little ones were charmers and easy to care for and please.  With the job, I had some money to go to the movies, buy a Photoplay or Modern Screen, or if I could hide it from Mom, a True Romance magazine.

Oh, this wise woman taught me so much.  How to apply make-up artfully, accessorize with flair, how to use color to enhance what my genes had given me.  Plus, she listened as I grew older, to my tales of boys who never returned my interest, how it felt being a wallflower at Friday night dances, how my life was changing as I moved further into my teens.  I could tell her anything, and I knew I'd get wise words, not a lecture.

Later, when I married and became a young mother, her last child and my first were born a few months apart.  Those two became fast boyhood friends.  Once again, this wise woman helped me learn to be a parent, to deal with the stresses of having three small children, and a marriage that had issues.  We walked and talked and got through the babyhood years, the childhood years, those dreaded teen years.  We accumulated so many walking miles in this relationship I think we could have circled the globe twice.  With each mile, I learned from her, and we often laughed about how much money we saved in not needing counseling or alcohol to get us through tough times.

Our children grew, married, and now have children of their own.  We've both left the old neighborhood, but we've never left behind the memories of those walks and talks.  I was so fortunate to have found this Wise Woman. I was more blessed that my mother realized how valuable this woman was to me at a time when I needed direction, but not necessarily from a mother.

I used this wealth of knowledge in many ways as a mother and a woman.  As my boys moved into their early teens, and no longer found me the one that had the best answers, I rejoiced when they found a person, similar to my Walking Wise Woman, to help them find the answers they needed.  What also interested me, was those people my sons sought out, most often a parent of one of their close friends, well…that friend would seek me out, confide in me, because, gee whiz, Mom/Dad just didn't understand them. 

What goes around, comes back, double, and in wonderful ways.  As grown men, my sons mentioned how smart they realized I had become.  I quoted Mark Twain, and they laughed.  Now as I listen to my son talk about his son, my wish for them both is they have a similar experience.