Today my mother celebrates her 84th birthday. This is not the 84 of times past. Instead, my mother celebrates with vitality that a decade ago may have been incomprehensible for a women of her age. She attends senior aerobics classes, goes to Curves several times per week, and has started “chair yoga” with my dad.
In December last year she emailed her offspring to advise us all that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, had scheduled a lumpectomy for the Friday before Christmas, but not to worry because it was no big deal. I, of course, disregarded her nonchalance and made reservations to fly into Indianapolis and be there for her surgery. I had to explain that it was for me rather than her. She knew she would be fine. Her only concern was being able to take the trip she and my dad had already scheduled to see the Panama Canal in February.
True to form, the day after her surgery she was up, worked the crossword puzzle in the paper, and was ready to attend Mass and go out to dinner Saturday evening. I aspire to such optimism and resilience.
My mom is a child of the depression. When I was a youngster she rinsed and re-used tinfoil and plastic storage bags. She knows how to be thrifty but not parsimonious. After she completed her 37 radiation treatments, she decided to use part of her AFLAC benefits to buy an iPhone so she could text her grandchildren. The rest of us benefit. She sends us photos she’s taken with her phone of places, people and meals that keep us up to date. She sends us text messages that help us to feel connected. Many people of her generation fear technology, but Mom embraces it. In fact she and my dad now each have their Kindles for reading while traveling.
I admire my mom for continuing to grow with the times and embrace new technologies and adventures. She doesn’t let the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that can impact her life stop her from moving forward and celebrating each day. Still today she defines old as at least 10 years older than she is. On that she and I agree. I’ve decided I won’t concede that I am old until I reach 95.
So I celebrate the amazing force of nature that my mother embodies and thank my higher power that I still have the privilege of having her and my dad in my life today. She remains vibrant, engaged, interested in the world around her, committed to her family , friends, church and community, and has an abundance of friends that appreciate her. What more could any person want?
So, Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you, admire you and appreciate you!
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