http://www.nextavenue.org re-posted this piece once again, originally written in 2015 in honor of Mother’s Day and my mom.
Their title: My Mother, My Inspiration…
You remember the phrase our parents used to say, “Do as I say, not as I do?” Here are some “Do as I say” edicts spoken by my Mother:
-Sit up straight.
-Walk looking up, not down at your feet. (My sister Linda stepped on a nail when she tried that!)
-Your face is going to freeze like that.
-Don’t talk to strangers.
-Yes you are going with me to so and so’s house. Why? Because I said so.
-Go to school. If you still feel sick in a few hours, call me.
-Play nice with others. Treat them as you want to be treated.
-Put on lipstick. You never know who you are going to meet.
There were 25 people at Mom’s 95th birthday February 2nd. It was a joyous, energized and eclectic occasion filled with relatives and friends, old and young, gay and straight, black and white. People couldn’t wait to hug and kiss her and tell stories about where they met and how she inspires them.
Linda and I are in the most enviable position of being able to focus, and change, the second half of the phrase ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ We now tell ourselves, as we navigate through our lives, ‘do as she does’ .
I bet some people look at Mom’s wonderful smile and her ‘in the moment’ energy and think, “Wow, this woman has had an easy, happy life.” From loosing both her parents by the age of 12, raising three children with no child support, to the loss of one of her daughters, how wrong they would be.
Author Vivian Greene wrote: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
This is how Mom chooses to dance:
-By not putting herself down, beating herself up or saying negative things that demean who she is.
-By never saying, ‘why me?’
-By accepting that “this is the way life is.”
-By recognizing the good in others and treating everyone as an individual. She still tells Linda and me not to speak to strangers, but she never meets a stranger. It doesn’t matter if it is a clerk in a store or the person in the auto detailing shop, the first thing she’ll ask is their name.
-By never forgetting about the little girl who lives within her. She brings her out to play. When I called the other night, she told me she was watching a ‘penguin movie’ and could not talk. She failed to hang up the phone properly so I was able to listen to her laugh, all by herself, while watching Happy Feet on TV.
-By repeating daily, “Some one up there is watching out for us and I’m so GRATEFUL.” Grateful being the optimum word.
-By getting out of her house and engaging in life. “I have to see people every day.”
-By saying, “Exercise. I notice one of the first things to go are your legs.” Mom rides a stationary bike at a gym almost every day.
-By carrying herself with dignity and grace with her head held high. And I don’t remember her ever stepping on a nail!
-By putting her lipstick on before she walks out of the house!
Do what she does? You bet. I’m learning how to dance in the rain.
One of my goals is to celebrate my 95th birthday, happy and healthy, with family and a group of eclectic friends, while wearing a brilliant shade of red lipstick!
How about you?
This blog is about empowering baby boomers, physically, emotionally and creatively.
We were loud and proud in the heyday of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s It’s time we were again. This blog is also about breaking societal stereotypes on aging by bringing awareness to the forefront on who baby boomers are and who we are not.
My desire is that you will join this conversation. Along with help from you and others, including a high-heeled, gym-going, red nail polish wearing, ribbon in her hair, 93 year old woman, who happens to be my Mom, we can share tips and ideas that will propel us forward, re-shaping our own thoughts and society’s ideas about us along the way.
Stay tuned. There is lots more to come…Soon!
Originally posted 2014-01-20 00:28:50.
10 Steps to Renewal at any Age
Renewal, what a great word. I wonder if we stop thinking about renewal, OUR OWN, after a certain age? Do you ever think about renewal and refreshing your life?
There is so much talk about meditation as a good way to refresh. And I agree, if I could shut my swirling mind off for awhile! So, I wondered, what renews me?
10 Steps to Renewal at any Age
Here are five of my personal favorites:
- April Fool’s Day. One of my favorite days. It’s right around the corner. Why not think of something to do that will get a giggle out of you and whomever you ‘fool.’ I get Jake every year. He hates bugs so at the right time I scream, “You have a spider crawling on you!” Then I stand back and watch him try to find the spider and get it off him! It’s a riot. Oh boy, I can’t wait! (Don’t tell him!!)
- The Gotcha’ game. Walk up to someone and say, “You have a spot on the front of your shirt.” When they look down to see where it is you take the side of your index finger and gently tap them on the underside of their nose and say, “Gotcha.” Ok, ok….I get it…But when was the last time you played that ‘Gotcha’?
- Play board games. Mexican Train is my favorite at the moment!
- Call someone who loves you. When I’m blue and need a virtual hug, I call my dear friends or family members just to say hello. I usually don’t tell them I’m blue. Just hearing their voices, their happiness because I called, grounds me and I’m all better.
- Be Creative. It can be the simplest thing. I have said before that Mom has the cutest little girl inside her.”Hi Mom,” I said when I called last week. “Whatcha doin’?” “I’m playing dress up in my closet.” Mother has always used her appearance as a form of creativity. It’s one of the fun steps she takes that renews her . In the March 2017 O (Oprah) magazine, (which you can only view on-line if you pay for it-I bought it), is an article, on page 117, called: ‘Does Your Style Match Your Soul.’ It speaks to how clothes reflect who we are.
Mom’s certainly do:
10 Steps to Renewal at any Age
Here are 5 more:
- Do something wonderful just for you. A friend said she always keeps her house and her car in great shape, now it is her turn.
- Play. Like you did when you were a kid. How about Zip lining? To watch one of my buddies run over a bridge and take a flying leap was priceless. It was priceless because she was making the funniest sounds while doing it. And right there her little girl showed up and so did everybody else’s kid!
- Watch a Parade.
Alexandria Virginia has 3 parades a year. Military Bands, clown cars, dogs dressed up, kids, kids and more kids. I laughed and giggled and waved and sang. I searched Google: ‘How to find parades in your area.’ There were 85,700,000 results!!
- Volunteer. Helping others is one of the best feelings in the world. Renewal at it’s finest.
- LOL. Laugh out loud. I mean really out loud. So loud that people will be looking at you wondering what’s so funny!
Please scroll down to Leave A Reply and share the steps you take. I know your reply will be appreciated by others. I will re-post this blog with your responses.
But before you do…you have a spot on the front of your shirt…GOTCHA’!
Originally posted 2017-03-09 21:12:08.
How to get 27 cards on your 97th birthday? I’d have to think long and hard to find 27 people who’d consider sending me a card. What about you? Not Mom. I know…amazing! The cards were from: people at the grocery store, the beauty shop and don’t even get me started on the deli she goes to every day! The deli cashier gave her flowers as did the waiters and the manager brought out a key lime pie with a lit candle and had the whole restaurant sing her happy birthday.
How does that happen?
Mom just needs to ‘show up’ with her smile and sparkly eyes! That may sound silly to you, but it is true. She just has to show up! As we ponder questions about our aging process how cool is to notice someone who is aging in a way that makes you say, “I want to be just like you when I grow up!” I hear that said to Mom and about Mom all the time! Just today a friend was telling me about her friend whose 96 year old Dad is struggling and how difficult it is for him and his family. Annie said to me, “All I could think about was Ronnie and how nothing is a struggle for her.”
I have previously written that Mom’s life hasn’t been the easiest. She lost both her parents by age 12, married the love of her life at 17 only to be left for another woman at 29 with 3 kids to raise and no child support. She had a second divorce but eventually married a good man who passed away after 22 years of marriage. Then in 2004 she looses her oldest daughter to cancer. “I want to be just like you when I grow up!” Really? If you had been through all that Mom has been through, would people be able to say that about you? I’m not sure they would about me!
How to get 27 cards on your 97th birthday? What do those people see when they look at Mom?
–Gratitude Mom often, and I mean daily, will say out loud, “Thank you for my life.”
–Curiosity Mom asks people questions about their lives and really listens to their answers.
–Play Mom puts a little heart next to her name when signing her credit card slip.
–Creativity She has never thought of herself as being invisible because of her age. Age does not define how she dresses.
A recent conversation:
“Pamela, I’m so proud of you. Don’t ever change Honey.” I said, “Mom, I’m going to be 70 this year, I don’t think I’ll change much.” Mom says, “No Honey, I mean don’t go grey!”
–Positive outlook Mom said to me, “I hope you have as much fun at 97 as I’m having.”
–Laughter Out loud and often.
–Stays informed and reads “Books are my friends.”
–Mom remains active She goes out every day. “I have to see people” is one of her mantras. (She has an aide that is with her 6 days a week for 5 hours per day who will drive her, etc. )
– Challenges herself She continually challenges herself whether it is walking around her condo complex 3 times a day or walking up flights of stairs in my home when she came to visit. The first night with me she asked if she gets a sticker for making it up the stairs without stopping. The next day I bought her stickers!
What do I and other people see when they look at Mom? A woman who absolutely hasn’t bought into the stereotype of what aging is supposed to look like. Mom’s ways may not be your way but what I know with out a doubt, if you don’t buy the hype…you just don’t buy the hype. Sparkly eyes and a big smile are a great way to start! Then maybe 27 cards on your 97th birthday doesn’t sound so far fetched!! What do you think?
Originally posted 2017-02-19 22:12:05.