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.