By Lorraine Duffy Merkl
The voice behind Mommy-in-the-Middle, Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of the novel, Fat Chick. She is also a freelance journalist, whose work has appeared in The New York Times and many other publications.
Social seniors keep their minds sharp reported the New York Post.*
If so, my mother will be on top of her game until her last breath.
Since I was a child, I have watched her give of herself. Not only has she always had many friends, but the relationships have lasted decades. People refuse to let her go. My mother still gets Christmas cards from a girl, now woman, who babysat me back in the 1960s and another who used to take ballet lessons with me. These were people in my life, who, given the choice, chose to stay connected with her.
My mother has been retired now around 25 years, but former colleagues still keep in touch. She moved to Manhattan from the Bronx over a decade ago to help me raise my children, yet continues to get holiday flowers from her one-time outer-borough neighbors.
Seeing, of course, is not believing. So I took the more introverted route, primarily because I hate small talk. The mere thought of, “How’s the family? Great weather we’re having, huh? How ’bout them Mets?” causes me physical pain. Most the time, I prefer to remain as anonymous as Navy SEAL Team Six.
Being outgoing, however, has skipped a generation. My daughter, Meghan, can work a room like a politician, remembering everyone’s name and how she first made their acquaintance. She is 13 and has been this way for as long as I can remember. All the mothers, dating back to pre-K (some I didn’t even know), went out of their way to say hello to her. When we walk though our neighborhood, shopkeepers stop sweeping to greet her, some rap on their store windows to get her attention so they can wave. Meg not only waves back, but flashes her hey-glad-to-see-you-too grin that is negotiating currency.
Because they are so much alike, they are very close and have their own relationship. This opposite-end-of-age-spectrum connection seems to quite the rage now, according the Wall Street Journal,’s “OMG! My Grandparents R My BFF!”
For once, I am not in the middle, but totally left out.
*The study that came to this conclusion was done by the Chicago Rush University Medical and reported in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.