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Mom’s Birthday Bench

            For Mom’s birthday this year I bought her a glider bench. She’s been wanting a bench in the yard for years, and in my endless random searches on Amazon I came across this glider (and a hammock, and a small green house, and a few other things I thought she’d like), and she went to the board of the co-op to ask if it would be okay to put the glider bench in the back yard, and they said a resounding yes. So I ordered it, and it came in two days, faster than expected, and I decided to put it together right away, in the downstairs hall, because the box was too heavy to carry upstairs. Mom helped where she could, holding this or that steady, but I seem to have a knack for putting things together with an Allen wrench and blurry pictorial instructions.

            As soon as we finished construction and set the bench up in the yard, I ran upstairs to get the dogs (and our jackets, because it was getting chilly). The whole idea of the bench, or the vision I had in my head, was that Mom could sit on the bench and glide back and forth while Cricket spent hours (or minutes) exploring the yard.

Ellie guarding Grandma, and the bench

            We attached a long rope to the bench and looped the leashes through it and sat down on the bench to see how things would go. Ellie immediately asked for uppies, but Cricket set off on her adventure. She was frustrated when the rope stopped before she could reach Kevin’s building (her bestie, Kevin, the mini-Golden Doodle), but she survived, and pulled the rope all the way in the other direction, expressing frustration again when she reached the limits on that side and couldn’t explore the back of beyond.

Cricket hitting her limit.

            The glider bench is light enough so that the gardeners will be able to move it out of the way when they mow the lawn, though Mom was considering putting it right under the paw paw tree – to warn them away from doing any more damage. There really isn’t room for the bench under the paw paw tree, though, so maybe she’ll just sit on her bench, twenty feet away, and glare at them. She’s tiny, but she’s fierce when it comes to protecting her trees.

            And she has a stockpile of allergy meds ready for just such an occasion.

            I’m pretty sure there will be a significant amount of sewing done on that bench – especially now that she’s had her second carpal tunnel surgery, so she’s good for at least another year.

            She also likes to do sun prints with all kinds of flowers and leaves, so she’ll have a comfortable place to sit while the sun does its work. She could even move the bench over to her vegetable plot (or, I could move the bench over to her vegetable plot), so she can watch her garlic grow. I prefer to sit in the air-conditioning and watch TV, but to each her own.

Ellie prefers watching her people.

            I still wish I could set up a hammock for her, string it up between two of the tall trees the way she’s always wanted, but we keep deciding against it, because getting in and out of it would be difficult, and Cricket would be no help at all.

            I’m not a huge fan of Mom’s birthdays, to be honest. Mother’s day is better, because it feels timeless and universal, but birthdays mean that she’s getting older, and I’m against that. I need my Mommy to live forever, and stay superhuman, the way she’s always been. Cricket and I are on the same page here. Cricket is as much in denial about her own aging as she is about her Grandma’s. She prefers to believe that time stopped the day she first met her Grandma and nothing has to change ever again.

            Short of that, the plan is to revel in the ability to sit outside on the glider bench, two people and two dogs, letting time stop every once in a while. For as long as possible.

Puppy Cricket and her Grandma, the beginning.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out my Young Adult novel, Yeshiva Girl, on Amazon. And if you feel called to write a review of the book, on Amazon, or anywhere else, I’d be honored.

            Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish teenager on Long Island, named Isabel, though her father calls her Jezebel. Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes it’s true. As a result of his problems, her father sends her to a co-ed Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, and Izzy and her mother can’t figure out how to prevent it. At Yeshiva, though, Izzy finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment. The question is, what will Izzy find?

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

94 responses »

  1. A lovely tribute to your mom and the time you enjoy together!

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  2. Sweet pics! A thoughtful gift 💖

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  3. Your mom is so blessed to have such a loving and thoughtful daughter. ❤

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  4. Happy Birthday to your mom!

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  5. Happy Birthday to your mother and many happy returns. The glider bench is a wonderful gift.

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  6. What a lovely birthday gift, and I hope that your mother has many more years to enjoy sewing in it and glaring at the gardeners getting too close to the paw paw tree!

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  7. What a wonderful gift.I would love to sit on that bench! I’m sure your Mum will have many hapy hours on it .

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  8. Sweet post, Rachel. I bet she’ll like that bench this summer. Happy birthday to your mom.

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  9. Wishing many more years to your mom!

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  10. Yes. Mothers should live forever!

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  11. I LOVE the picture of Cricket and her grandmother. Sweetness…

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  12. How wonderful, and what a lovely post Rachel. Happy Birthday to your Mom. I hope she gets hours of pleasure from her bench in the garden.

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  13. Your Mum looks thrilled with her very thoughful present. It’s often difficult to know what to buy elderly parents because they pretty much have everything they need, except time. Sadly, Amazon don’t sell time, nor does anyone else.

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  14. Happy birthday to your mother. I think the bench looks enviably good.

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  15. What a fabulous gift. I was super impressed to know you have ‘a knack for putting things together with an Allen wrench and blurry pictorial instructions. You should hire yourself out to write better instructions for assembling all sorts of things.

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  16. The bench looks great and comfortable. I’ve never seen them in Australia.

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  17. I’m seriously impressed by your knack of putting these things together

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  18. Happy Birthday to Mom! I have a glider bench and I know what you mean about lazing around while time stops. Sipping coffee adds to the enjoyment 👍😁

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  19. What a lovely and thoughtful gift. Here’s to many years of enjoyment. ‘Yom Huledet Sameach’ to your mum.

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  20. What a wonderful,post about love, relationships, and family. You and your mom are lucky to have each other!

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  21. I hope your mum enjoys many happy hours on her new bench. We have two chairs that look the same as that bench, but they don’t ‘glide’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  22. Wonderful! What a great plan to celebrate your mother – on her birthday or any day. She’s lovely, by the way.

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  23. Outdoor benches are the best!

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  24. You’re a good granddaughter, Rachel. She’s happy with your gift.
    Art

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  25. I’m also liking your idea of time being stopped while sitting on the bench. Maybe that can be a suspBenchsion of time. And your idea inspired me to write a short poem over at my blogs. I’m not yet sure if it’s good. If it is, I’m wondering if it’s ok with you if I post a shout-out (under my poem) to you and your blog post for causing me to write it. If it’s not ok with you, I respect that too.

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  26. Happy birthday to your Momma! I hope all four of you pass many enjoyable hours relaxing on the new glider. It looks so peaceful.

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  27. Happy Birthday to your Mom! This was such a sweet post!

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  28. Did not know they still made those. My aunt has one that her parents had. No telling how old it is.

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  29. Pingback: A seat that slows down aging can be called suspBenchsion of time. On it can sit two people | When Deadlines Become Zombies

  30. The bench is delightful. I can see your Mum will spend many happy days sitting outside. As well as both the dogs by her feet. (not forgetting your self)

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  31. Awwww… Such a sweet tribute. Happy Birthday to your Mama.

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  32. A mom full of warmth and goodwill is an enormous gift. May she continue long after this birthday to enrich your life by God’s grace.

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  33. Every grandmother needs a glider or a porch swing. No grandmother has ever successfully mastered getting in and out of a hammock, so you are wise to not buy one of those. The last time I tried to get into one I promptly fell out the other side!

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  34. Since I love being outside I would be right out there with your Mom and at least one of my dogs, too! That was a wonderful present, Rachel.

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  35. What an incredibly thoughtful gift Rachel! For Mother’s Day you can get a sign for her bench that reads- “Protector of the Paw Paws.” I’m not sure which picture I love more- the one of your mom on her bench with Ellie at guard or the one of her and puppy Cricket.

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  36. Hi Rachel, I read this post yesterday and it rang a chord for me with regard to potential loss, and the desire to preserve the experiences we have with family and family pets.
    We’d love to be able to bottle the memories intact so we could decant them periodically, but all our methods for doing this are flawed. Video, or photos. Writing seems best because we can preserve how the moment felt as it happened.

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  37. How thoughtful of you, & Happy Birthday to your lucky mom! I stumbled across this read from another blogger I subscribe to. Networking works! Is there a way to follow you?

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  38. Lol, I found the follow button. 🤣 Done!

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  39. What a great lovely birthday gift to your mom.

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  40. such a great gift of love and both of them look so cozy.. 💖🙏

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  41. Happy birthday to Mom…great gift!

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  42. The bench looks wonderful. Besides being a gifted writer, you’re a gifted assembler of furniture!

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  43. I commend your attempt here to make your mother feel as independent as possible with the bench idea. I’m trying to do the same with my elderly mother. Happy Passover.

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  44. Happy Birthday to your mom!

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  45. Your mother is lovely, and so is the bench. And she is blessed to have a throughtful, loving daughter like you.

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  46. You are a good daughter. My dad’s birthdays (most recently: 82!) have begun to frighten me because I always wonder how much time is left. Although my mom is only a few years younger, I haven’t lost my childlike notion that Mom will outlive me.

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