Everywhere I look, I see an army massing.
It is the army of daughters, holding on to their aged parents.
To doctors and dentists, to dinners at 5 pm and 10% off days for seniors. Down the halls of nursing homes and up aisles at supermarkets, slowly pushing a cart that holds two apples, one tomato, and a small box of low-sodium Saltine crackers.
The army of daughters is in every corner of the parking lot, snapping walkers and wheelchairs into and out of trunks in two expert maneuvers..the way they mastered strollers so many years ago. Always scanning for a car door swinging shut too soon, or an SUV backing out of a parking space too fast.
The way they protected their toddlers so many years ago.
The army of daughters is hardly a silent one. In fact, they're always on their phones. They're pleading with medical receptionists to let them bring Mom this afternoon so that this night too does not end in the emergency room. They're dialing every number in the zip code to find an after-hours pharmacy that is truly open past 6 pm. They're calling Dad for grocery lists, which will inevitably include all the items they just dropped off the day before.
And they try so very hard to answer the ringing phone calmly, even when their throats constrict as they see the number on the caller ID...
...and they find themselves throwing on jeans and heading out the door.
At its best, this army is a holy exercise in compassion and a desperate primal desire to prevent the suffering overtaking the minds and bodies of those who taught them Love. At its worst, the army of daughters can't choke back the ugly thought that you don't enlist in this army...
You get drafted.