14 August 2007

From the mouths of elders.

We were explaining to my mother, who is 90 and has dementia, that her new doctor is a doctor for old people. Then we try to say, "but not really for really old people, we could go to him too . . ." trying to make it sound not so bad. My mother pops out with this:

"There is nothing wrong with being old."

She is so right. In this day and age, at 57 I sometimes feel somewhat apologetic, somewhat traveling towards the outskirts of importance or interest to society because of my age. Sometimes it seems so downright youth-focused in this country that I fall into an aberrant mode of thinking that aging is something to try to hide.

But there is nothing wrong with being old. When I was growing up there was a litany of behaviors that were wrong. A wife must know how to cook, a wife cannot work, babies out of wedlock are unacceptable, don't drink beer, no dates in the house unless your parents are home, do not wear shorts to the market.

It was a black and white world. And being old was one of those things that was not wrong.

It still isn't.

I must digress a little because I want to remember another of my mother's comments that day. She always has had the best sense of humor, to the extent that she would laugh uncontrollably at dinner and my father would send her from the dinner table for laughing (laughing at the table was wrong). She still has that sense of humor, it is natural to her being and I admire her for that. My sister coaxed her up to the doctor's measuring tape so that they could measure her height. She was only 4 foot 11, instead of her young adult height of 5 foot 3. My sister told her: "You are 4 inches shorter" and Mother replied: "I'm sinking". Sinking! We all started laughing. Then Mother added "but that's okay, I guess."

Time to look to put more humor in my own life, and to embrace the wonderful fact that I am getting old. And proud of it.

Here is a picture of my smiling mother at 90.

Mother at 90.

More pictures on the next page.

Mother at about 31.

Mother at about 31.

Mother at about 42.


Mother at about 50.


Mother at about 58.


Mother at about 60.


Mother at 67.



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