This story is fiction. I imagined it. We used to visit a little girl in an orphanage and always stopped to see other kids for a few minutes too. It’s that experience that conjured up this story about someone older than a kid.
The little girl had been introduced to the elderly woman in the nursing home. The parents came often to visit a relative and would stop by to chat with this nearby room resident too.
The little girl climbed up on the woman’s lap. She kept her eyes steadily on the woman’s face, as though entranced. The child reached up and touched the woman’s cheek. “You have so many wrinkles,” she commented. Indeed, the woman’s cheeks were corrugated with nearly a hundred years of aging.
“What do you think about those wrinkles?” The woman asked. The little girl thought for a moment. “Do they hurt?” she asked.
The elderly lady smiled and assured the girl that wrinkles don’t hurt. That seemed to end her interest in the woman’s corrugated face. The child asked if the woman had seen the latest Shrek movie. She wanted to know what her favorite color is: how early she gets up in the morning; and whether she has homework to do. So many things are more important than wrinkles.
Watching the scene, it occurred to me that if we live long enough, most of us will spend time in a place like this, where we can get the care we need and be clean and presentable when visitors come to call. When I think about the possibility, at least it’s encouraging to know that wrinkles don’t hurt.
P.S. The elderly woman in our story so appreciated visitors. Are there people in your life who would treasure time with you? Reviewing old photos, listening to stories, just plain being social. And then there are the hugs and hand-holding. Life-supporting.