I’m coming out of a store when I see my mother standing on the sidewalk. Not really, she’s been dead for thirty-four years, but there’s something about the woman’s frame, her pink cotton blouse, the way she styled her hair, and the softness of her throat that reminds me of my mom. It’s like someone socked me in the gut.
She’d be ninety now, but is forever young in my mind because of her early passing. I’m older than she ever was and that messes royally with my mind. I shrug my shoulders into a shawl of melancholy as I walk toward my car. I’m an old(ish) woman and I still miss the comfort of my mom.
Later in the day I hear someone refer to balcony people: people in the “balconies” of our life who cheer us on and encourage us (as opposed to basement people who do the opposite). Mom would have been one of my balcony people. As it is, I’ve walked a fairly solitary path—overcrowding hasn’t been an issue in the balcony.
I like to think of myself as a balcony person in the lives of those in my sphere. I try (I hear my granddaughter’s voice saying “don’t try, do”), but I can do better. We can all do better.
And, you know, I think if we all spent more time in balconies the world might look a little different. Encouragement begets encouragement. One person who makes it through a rough patch extends a hand back to pull another one forward, and one life changed exponentially impacts others.
And here’s something. If we feel like our balcony is underpopulated, maybe we can be wise and brave enough to find some generous souls to spend time up there for us. I’ve never been good at doing this, but I’ve been honoured to be in the balconies of those who invited me there. It’s a gift both ways.
So, what do you say? Balconies? I’ll meet you there.