Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (2024)

by Laurie Wagner | Aug 4, 2020 | Blog | 62 comments

Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (1)

Well, I finally got the courage to ask my 83-year-old Mother if she wanted to spoon with me in bed. I’d been wanting to ask her to cuddle for days, ever since my daughter and I arrived at her house earlier in the week.

My Mother’s house is small, perfect for one, with a little bedroom and an office. It’s bright and sunny with windows which look out into the garden. I was supposed to be sharing the fold out couch in the office with my 25-year-old, but it proved too tiny for two grown ladies. So after a few nights of tossing and turning, I headed over to Mom’s bed down the hall, which she shares with her two little dogs, Jack and Jackie. To this day I do not know which is which, but my Mother speaks to them as if they are her children. “You’re as close to human as possible,” she whispered to the fluffy white one just two minutes ago as I sat here writing, “but better,” she cooed.

The first night I gingerly peeled the covers back on the far side of Mom’s queen-sized bed so I could slip in unobtrusively – almost like I was never there. My plan was to sleep and rise without messing up the sheets. Partly because I felt like I was intruding, but also something deeper, and which would take me a few days to understand.

We’d come to L.A. to help her with some house projects, and to give her company during the pandemic, which she’d weathered alone with the dogs. We’d work in the garage, which was still filled with boxes from her move into the house nine months earlier. She’d actually lived across the street from the little house, in a home she and my Dad moved into when she was 22-years-old, a few months before I was born. That was 60 years ago, and she’d lived on this street the whole time. Mom and Dad raised four kids in that house, buried dozens of pets in the yard – everything from cats, hamsters and mice, to beloved dogs with names like Ralph, Bow Wow and Daphne. My parents were social, had party after party, and belonged to the same temple for 60 years. My Mom’s three best friends to this day are women she’s known since grade school in Los Angeles. Dad died 11 years ago and Mom stayed, but the old house needed too much work, so she sold it and lucky for her, got to move across the street.

After a few days here, I found myself impatient with Mom. One night her car was broken into on the street while we slept, and her social security card was taken, which took us a day to untangle. The tasks around the house that I’d come home to help her with seemed to take both of us longer. The boxes in the garage were filled with ancient paperwork that mattered a long time ago, and which might matter again, but which confounded us. When her phone rang she’d answer it, and have thoughtful conversations with people trying to sell her insurance or new windows. I got bossy and short.

The pandemic hasn’t been easy on any of us, and it has taken its toll on Mom too. Her hands were shaky, and her arms and legs looked more bruised than usual. While she was her peppy self in some ways – shouting Alexa! Show tunes! she seemed vulnerable to me – leaving doors open at night as she tottered around the house talking to her dogs. The world was changing around us and she seemed almost unaware. I kept imagining what it was like to live on the same street since you were 22-years-old – a baby really – and how easy it would be to associate that place with love and safety forever.

Underneath my impatience with her was worry.

I wasn’t exactly my old self either. Between the pandemic and politics – don’t get me started – I had become increasingly agitated. I’m usually an up and up kind of woman, but I became that person in conversations who’d start down a dark path and keep going. Friends watched me in silence as I went on about people who don’t wear masks, or what was happening in Washington, bursting into tears after about two minutes. It’s not that my friends didn’t agree with me, but sometimes I wondered whether I was bringing them down. Many of them gushed about how great it was to have so much extra time to exercise since they weren’t commuting. I kept trying to find the bright side, but I couldn’t get there.

What I needed wasn’t more exercise. I needed something more instinctive, something primal. I needed touch.

That’s when I started thinking about spooning with my Mom. Maybe she needed it too. Her partner, Ralph had died two years ago, and I hadn’t slept alongside anyone since February when my own partner and I had last seen one another.

While it felt courteous of me not to take over Mom’s bed, the actual space in the bed unoccupied between us felt too intimate, like we were afraid to cross it. As much as I longed to pull my body into the crook of my Mother’s body and lay there breathing together, I was too shy to ask her to do that with me. I thought about it all the time though.

The days ticked on and there were only three days left before Ruby and I would head home. I was aware that as each day passed I had lost another chance to spoon with my Mother.

One early morning I got brave, turning to her in bed and said, “Mom, would you like to spoon?”

She looked at me sweetly with sleepy eyes, co*cked her head and said “okay.” Then she tucked her back into my chest and I wrapped my arm around her waist. She began giggling like a 5-year-old. Then she got quiet and said she felt sad. “I know,” I said.

We lay there in silence, and after a few minutes we both fell asleep.

When we woke up I made coffee and set off for a walk. All day she was happy, talkative, almost giddy, like a plant that had finally been watered.

As for me, I got quiet. I became self conscious and a little afraid. Would my Mother want more from me? And how would I navigate that tender space? This was an old feeling and not just tethered to my relationship with my Mother, but to all my relationships, especially with men. It was easier to stay on my side of the so called bed – to slip in and slip out before things got messy. I could connect with people, but on my own terms.

Still, I had promised Mom that we would spoon as long as I was home, and the truth was, I wanted to try it again, even if it wasn’t entirely comfortable for me.

The next morning she made a move to get out of bed and I said how about just five minutes of spooning?

I think about other mothers who have shared beds with grown daughters in difficult times. Fathers and sons, sisters and brothers, whole families sharing beds, holding onto one another, keeping each other safe when the world felt dangerous.

That’s what this need of mine felt like, awkward as it was, as cautious of intimacy as I am. I wanted to lay down with another person. I just didn’t realize it would be my Mother, my arms gently wrapped around her as we lay together in this strange new world.

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  1. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (3)

    Kimma Smithon August 5, 2020 at 4:12 am

    This is a beautiful piece, Laurie. Makes me wish I lived closer with my mom so I can spoon with her.

    • Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (4)

      Deb Wandleron August 5, 2020 at 6:57 am

      Such a beautiful piece Laurie…
      Your writing touches the placesin me that cry out to be acknowledged.

    • Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (6)

      Beverly Langeron August 5, 2020 at 12:48 pm

      Laurie, dear, what a beautiful piece from a beautiful young

      What a beautiful piece from a beautiful young (er) woman. Your writing is clean and simple, like folds of material, neatly stowed in the linen closet. I don’t know whether to respond as a fellow writer, or an older sister, which, minus some years of contact I feel towards you. I’ve been writing as well, and can send you some pieces if you’d like to see them (I’m writing a family memoir, from the Shtetel to San Francisco… probably to be called Home Again, Home Again). Probably hundreds of loving, hungry women have both praised you and your writing, and I agree, and also add how lucky you are to be able to cuddle with your mother, still. Love you, dear, and write back as you see fit.

  2. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (7)

    Kim Ion August 5, 2020 at 4:17 am

    Beautiful. And hooray for your bravery.

  3. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (8)

    Joannaon August 5, 2020 at 4:18 am

    A brave, beautiful piece. Thank you.

  4. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (9)

    Jen Lemenon August 5, 2020 at 4:53 am

    I hope this gets widely distributed and that unprecedented parent/child spooning occurs. Thank you for this.

  5. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (10)

    Florenciaon August 5, 2020 at 5:12 am

    Made me cry.
    Your Mon said she felt sad. You said: I know.
    I know too.

    Thank you and love

  6. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (13)

    Michelle Lisenbeeon August 5, 2020 at 5:20 am

    My mother has Alzheimer’s. She still knows who I am and is glad to see me when I visit, which is a blessing. When I visit, I will often stay a night or two so my Dad can have some time away. We sleep in the same bed while he is gone, and she will ask repeatedly “Where will you sleep? In the bed with me?” And I always answer, “Yes. You and me, in the bed. Together.” At night, she usually stays on her own side, but sometimes we both need the reassurance that someone else is there. We reach out a hand, or our feet find each other under the covers. It’s poignant and meaningful, even if she doesn’t remember in the morning.

  7. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (14)

    Kari Ranneyon August 5, 2020 at 5:24 am

    Beautifully written, you are so very talented.

  8. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (15)

    Lorraine Robinsonon August 5, 2020 at 5:35 am

    A heartfelt experience. This was not possible for me where distance was the rule. I appreciate your vulnerability and the offering of your sacred space. Thank you Laurie ❤️.

  9. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (16)

    Monica Gambinoon August 5, 2020 at 5:42 am

    Beautiful writing! . My son came home from college twenty pounds heavier. When we greeted each other at the airport, we hugged each other tight, ignoring the social distancing protocol. As we sunk into each other he said to me , “I haven’t touched anyone since March.“

  10. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (17)

    Vesela Simicon August 5, 2020 at 5:44 am

    Beautiful, Laure! Yes.
    My mom will be 89 in ten days. She’s nearby in a nursing home, in a wheelchair. These days we can only visit at a distance, wearing our masks on either side of the home’s fenced garden. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought how much I want to hold her. What that impossibility would do for us both.

  11. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (18)

    Heatheron August 5, 2020 at 6:22 am

    Just beautiful Laurie – thank you – so touching and real – blessings spooning daughter HX

  12. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (19)

    Lynne Mixsonon August 5, 2020 at 6:28 am

    Beautiful, Laurie. My mother made her transition 20+ years ago, but I have felt close to her during this Pandemic and we have healed so much. I feel that closeness again reading this — thank you.

    • Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (20)

      Barbaraon August 5, 2020 at 6:46 am

      Such a gorgeously tender love letter to yourself, your mom. Love in this time of corona. Thank you for this gift I’m reading in my double bed alone.

  13. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (21)

    Vicci Jaffeon August 5, 2020 at 6:57 am

    This piece touched me so deeply that I couldn’t breathe. I cried. But not for the beauty. Ithe connection I felt was overwhelming to me.

  14. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (22)

    Nancyon August 5, 2020 at 7:07 am

    Wow, that made me teary, as my mother-in-law lays in a hospital bed dying of a stroke, but also thinking of my own mother, who I never made amends with before she died 25 years ago, too soon for both of us. How I wish I had that kind of closeness with her.

  15. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (23)

    Erin Geesaman Rabkeon August 5, 2020 at 7:07 am

    Oh, I just love you and your beautiful mama. Such a tender and gorgeous piece. I love that she got to move across the street! So grateful I got to meet her and spend time in your childhood home. So grateful you have each other. So grateful for you. Your words, dear Laurie, are so quietly revolutionary. xoxo

  16. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (24)

    Jan Wilsonon August 5, 2020 at 7:10 am

    Insightful as usual. Thank you.

  17. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (25)

    ulion August 5, 2020 at 7:37 am

    Thank you for this bit of human sweetness.

  18. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (26)

    Frankie T Manningon August 5, 2020 at 7:44 am

    Laurie, what a blessing for you and your Mom. The warmth and love of sharing the comfort of each other is felt by us all.
    Thanks so much for sharing, it help me feel my Mom’s arm even though she is gone from this earth.
    Peace and Thank you.

  19. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (27)

    Winnon August 5, 2020 at 7:45 am

    I always get excited when I see a story from you in my inbox. They always touch me deeply on many levels. Twenty-five year old daughters and aging mothers and all the feelings. Thank you.

  20. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (28)

    Linda Levineon August 5, 2020 at 7:46 am

    A very touching story indeed. So nice to know so much about Susie’s interior life that she shared with her daughter for a time. I had no idea and I love her all the more for it. Thank you, you’ve brought a GREAT, healing dimension to a wonderful woman and friend.

  21. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (30)

    kathryn bagnellon August 5, 2020 at 7:58 am

    You hit on everything I feel when I visit my aging parents, and how much I miss being able to see them during the pandemic. (I believe we are alter ego-types: I grew up in Washington and my family is there still, but I live in LA now.) Thank you for using your words and experience to bridge a bit of the gap of helplessness I am feeling towards my parents right now.

  22. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (31)

    Jerion August 5, 2020 at 8:03 am

    I’m always so glad to see you in my inbox, Laurie!
    Once again, your tender and honest words go straight to my deep heart, and I feel nourished and met. I feel the blessings radiating out to all who share this journey with you. Thank you!
    And, what a great, spirit-filled photo of your mom.

    • Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (32)

      Andrew Foxon August 5, 2020 at 11:31 pm

      Primal whisper therapy might yet become a thing. This struck me as a primal whisper. I love it.

  23. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (33)

    Brenda Finneon August 5, 2020 at 8:04 am

    Hugs Hugs and hey, it’s crazy out there – here’s another hug. Beautiful Laurie.

    • Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (34)

      Heidi Slosson August 5, 2020 at 9:12 am

      Beautiful and poignant. I love the insight you share on your feelings about intimacy: on your own terms. I can relate. I’m sorry I can’t share this piece with my mother who is no longer alive, but I will share it with my 25 years old daughter!

  24. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (35)

    Karen VandenBoson August 5, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Beautiful, brave, vulnerable and full of love. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (36)

    Andrea Scheron August 5, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Oh Laurie… this one touched me deep. Made me smile thinking of your mom shouting to Alexa, nuzzling those pups… and also the giggly-tender of intimacy.

    Such a beautiful piece. The most intimate kind. This one will stick with me for a long time.

  26. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (37)

    Barbon August 5, 2020 at 8:49 am

    My mom died 1291 days ago. And yes, I count the days…for this very reason. I miss her touch so much (and her voice and her laugh) and something that intimate, something my mind and body needs as much as they do water, can’t be measured in a unit larger than a day for me. Thank you for your beautiful words, once again.

  27. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (38)

    Thereseon August 5, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Sadly missed.

  28. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (39)

    Carol Wiener Markson August 5, 2020 at 9:20 am

    Exquisitely deep, insightful, preciously human. Once again, in this pandemic, in particular, your own excavation of your human experience, so marvelously articulated, touches my heart, touches my tears. Thank you for using your words to help me point to mine.

  29. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (40)

    Stephanieon August 5, 2020 at 9:25 am

    So beautiful Laurie. I loved every sentence, including your mom shouting at Alexa. I can see it all.
    I broke social distancing rules for about 2 seconds and hugged Henry on his 28th birthday. I’m not sorry. Family touch is everything. Thank you for sharing. Xo ♥️

  30. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (41)

    Nan Seymouron August 5, 2020 at 9:35 am

    In tears here on the bank of the Yellowstone river. Thank you for daring this intimacy: the spooning, the writing, all of it…
    I love you so.

  31. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (42)

    Patriciaon August 5, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Gorgeous, exquisitely tender, intimate, vulnerable, and oh-so-touching….. Each tender word so deeply searing my heart and soul. Thank you for so eloquently sharing pieces of your heart that so deeply touch my own. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Laurie.

  32. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (43)

    Naome Soleilon August 5, 2020 at 10:26 am

    Thank you, Laurie, for sharing these treasured moments with your mother. What a gift. I read and then listened to your heart full of love and belonging. The waves of emotion and honesty are so vivid and real and changing. It’s a privilege to be in a writing community that values human authenticity and generosity.
    Holding you in the Light.

  33. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (44)

    Elida Scolaon August 5, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Tears came. Thank you for telling my story. I held my teetering mom without first asking permission. She was in her 90’s, living alone, going in an out of the hospital with heart problems. I held her in their parents bed. She rested her head on my shoulder. We just lie there for a while then she said, “What am I going to do?’. I had no answer but my embrace said, “I love you mom and forgive you for the angry hitting. Please forgive me for all the transgressions I committed against you. I love you, without any answers.”

  34. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (45)

    Louiseon August 5, 2020 at 11:00 am

    this touched my heart.

  35. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (46)

    Kathleen O'Brien Cunninghamon August 5, 2020 at 11:04 am

    I am touched. In the last 6 months of my mother’s life, I fell in love with her, called her sweetie, and really really meant it. From where we’d been to that, well, it was a miracle. We never spooned, but in retrospect, it was possible…the fact of which is a gift your writing has offered. Thankyou for the grace of it.

  36. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (47)

    TCon August 5, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Laurie ~ So touching and beautiful, your relationship with your mom & daughters. Your words express that primal thread and longing for connection. Vulnerable and real.

  37. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (48)

    hollyon August 5, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Oh, this made me cry. And laugh. In a good way. Thank you.

  38. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (49)

    Kiton August 5, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Tears. Oh so vulnerable of you to reach out to her, and to share your story with us.
    I have mixed feelings about my mother’s touch, I have for ever. We embrace when we see each other (@ 4 times a year) and that is easier for me now. But to spoon. There is both the desire and the heebie-jeebie feeling.
    We are close, and sometimes volatile. We are mending and deepening our relationship through saying the rosary every day, since April of this year.
    Moms and daughters – such love – such struggle.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  39. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (50)

    Teri Roseon August 5, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    Love this so much. So full of love and memory that is embedded in our hearts, minds, and flesh. How lovely that you each allowed the other to be vulnerable. My mother has Alzheimer’s and we had a very difficult relationship most of my life. The last three years, she has let her guard down because she doesn’t know she has one. It has opened the door to sweet affection I had craved as a child. A sweet gift from a terrible disease. A big chance to mend fences and just be who we are without the guard. xo

  40. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (51)

    Ilana Sharlin Stoneon August 6, 2020 at 12:53 am

    This is so beautiful Laurie. I always love getting a new glimpse into that window of your relationship with your mom. I miss mine so much, especially these days, but am equally grateful that she is not living through this time – complicated feelings. So happy that you could spoon with your mom when you both needed that touch of physical intimacy. Sending love…

  41. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (52)

    Barb Radtkeon August 6, 2020 at 7:46 am

    So sweet. I love your descriptions of touch being like watering a plant. So intrinsic to the needs of being human.

  42. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (53)

    Linda Myrickon August 6, 2020 at 8:35 am

    Really beautiful, Laurie. The photo of your mom is exquisite – so joyful and real. Your piece brought me right back to time with my mom when she was in her 80s. She was ill and we had been apart for a while. I went back home for a month. I crawled into the bed with her, rubbed her feet, massaged her back, and yes, spooned. The request was unspoken, as was so much of our relationship. Gestures of forgiveness, of letting go, and of love. Thank you so much for this opening to those memories.

  43. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (54)

    Gina Knoxon August 6, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Laurie, I laughed out loud thinking about your mother having thoughtful conversations with someone trying to sell her insurance or new windows on the phone. Funny, funny!!! Gina

  44. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (55)

    Jeffjion August 6, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    One of your very best, and that’s a pretty high bar. I could feel the currents of intimacy and sense of approach/avoidance ringing in the back of my face like a sugar rush. You fully know where this piece belongs. Send it there. xoxo

  45. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (56)

    Karen Wilhelm Buckleyon August 6, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Lovely blog!
    As my mother’s Alzheimer’s progressed she felt unsafe. One morning when she just couldn’t get out of bed I slipped in behind her and held her in my steady arms. Her sweet smile filled the room and she stayed in her contented place all day. I can still feel her vulnerability echoing my own.

  46. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (57)

    Jolene Wilson-Glahon August 7, 2020 at 5:40 am

    Thank you, Laurie. This piece is so real. It feels very familiar. It unleashed a torrent of sadness in me that my mother slipped away in the quiet of the night with no one to spoon with and i was left standing.

  47. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (58)

    Graceon August 7, 2020 at 9:10 pm


  48. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (59)

    Jennieon August 7, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    I loved this mama travelogue!

  49. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (60)

    Sandra Coopermanon August 8, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Sandra: Your lovely story about your sweet mother touched me. My mother died unexpectedly when she was 61. I never had the chance to take care of her as she aged and feel I missed a lot of opportunities to get to know her as we frequently do as parents age. My situation has been reversed. I am 85, live indepentently close to my daughter and she has assumed the role I would have taken if my mother had lived a longer life. As I write my life’s stories I hope they will provide some laughs and tears and insights after I am gone. Thanks for the many opportunities to write more from the heart.

  50. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (61)

    Gailon August 9, 2020 at 6:52 am

    Such an intimate portrait. These times are begging us to tend, not bury our deep desires. Beautiful writing and story, Laurie.

  51. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (62)

    Julie Bartonon August 9, 2020 at 11:42 am

    I’m crying. Love you, beautiful woman. xox

  52. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (63)

    charlotte m vickon August 9, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Lovely and acute.
    Thank you,

  53. Spooning with my Mother - 27powers (64)

    Mark Wangbergon August 14, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Beautiful truthful piece Laurie… Thank you for sharing this

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