I covered the last two class periods of the day for my friend and colleague a couple of weeks ago. She needed to take her teen daughter to the orthodontist, a little over an hour from campus. I asked her daughter if that meant a trip to the leggings store while they were out. She said it did, nodding her head vigorously. It reminded me of the times my mom and I would take monthly trips to the orthodontist when I was in eighth grade. We’d visit Dr. Trottier in Burlington, Vermont, ninety minutes away from our home on the other side of Lake Champlain. Those days were special and wonderful. I had Mom to myself. I enjoyed those day-long trips for a fifteen minute appointment, checking out Church Street, consignment shops, bookstores, record stores, and the malls afterwards. And definitely lunch out.
I am the oldest of four, with twin siblings in the middle; my youngest sister six years my junior. My parents were always renovating our farmhouse, the lone home on a long, rural road three miles from town. They did piecemeal construction projects. How did they swing it? They worked on the place when they could—summers mostly and vacations, weekends. Four of us, three dogs, several goats, a horse, dinner, firewood, snow removal, landscaping, vegetable gardens, teaching, groceries, dentists, doctors, sports, homework help, the bank. Add in the guests, church, and volunteering. Seriously, how?!! No wonder my mom wanted a day nearly to herself. I’m guessing the communication with my dad went like this in the early morning, before he headed out to teach all day:
Jerry, I’ll be back tonight! Lauren needs a new winter coat, so we’re hitting the outlets….
Jerry, the casserole is in the fridge or make whatever you want. I need a dress for that wedding this summer…see you later!
My mom is one of my greatest cheerleaders. She’s been with me for the hardest moments in my life and so many of the joyful ones. I’m glad that my overbite and poorly spaced teeth allowed for us to spend some time together all those years ago, that I could give her an excuse to leave her frenetic and full life on Brown Road for a few hours at a time over the 18 months I was in Dr. Trottier’s care.