on growing old(er) gracefully

Whenever I tease my mom about getting old, she says, “I’m not old, I’m older.” And she’s right, at 67 she is relatively young.

(And still, I couldn’t resist the urge to make this photo look like a daguerreotype…)

But she’s even younger at heart. And she has managed to accomplish the main thing that I hope to achieve as I get old(er):

She’s not bitter. At all. About anything.

I think that is one of the hardest things to do as we navigate our way through this life. It is so easy to fall into the bitter trap, to be angry, or cynical, or unforgiving. Life can be hard, and sometimes it kicks our ass. But my mom has managed to remain, well, what’s the opposite of bitter? Sweet?

And it isn’t easy for her to be that way. She has fibromyalgia, and so she is very often living in pain. But she never stops thinking of other people, ever. Even now, when she is so sick she can barely get out of bed, she still says at the end of our conversation, “Call us if you need anything.”

This past week, she had emergency gall bladder surgery, and then ended up back in the hospital with pneumonia. And through it all, even as we were sitting in the emergency room and she was having trouble catching her breath, she was still joking, making conversation, showing interest in other people. She asked every single person–nurse, tech, student, cleaner–how they were doing, their name, their children’s names, their children’s ages.

And she’ll remember what they say. Days later, she’ll say, “Jennifer said such and such…” and I’ll say, “Who’s Jennifer?” And she’ll say, “Jennifer, the nurse, the one with the two little boys, one of them has a bad cold, and the other one just started playing the piano.” As if we have both known them all forever.

Because she loves people. She cares about them, even the ones she barely knows. She, and my father, are always there to help. Always doing things for other people. Always giving. Selfless. They are each, in their own way, my hero.

When I grow old(er) I think

I want to be just like her.

19 Responses to “on growing old(er) gracefully”

  • beth Says:

    what a wonderful tribute…
    our mothers are close in age…mine is 69 and she too, can tell you about other people she’s been around a few minutes or a few hours. I inherited that gene and it’s a good one to have. although my hubby is always…”who? do I know her/him” “what did they did do” and “does that matter to us”…..not in a rude way at all, but in a “how do you do that” kind of way…..
    oh well….I think I would love your mom 🙂

    • Mrs. Mediocrity Says:

      I am usually just the opposite, but I am starting to see that it really is a good gene to have…

  • Debi Says:

    I love my mom, but she is so not like your mom. LOL! She is the WORST patient ever – seriously! 🙂 So I am going to borrow your mom & try to be like her, although I fear MY mother’s genes have already taken hold. Maybe not too late!

  • Trisha Says:

    What a beautiful mother you have…inside and out. 🙂

  • Kimberla Says:

    That is so beautiful and moving. I can totally see her making conversation and finding out kids’ names and ages at the hospital. I hope I can stay young at heart like her and Deetz!

  • Marcie Says:

    Such beautiful words..and a lovely piece about your love for your mom.

  • Liz Says:

    I think your mom sounds just wonderful. 🙂

  • linda@LimeintheCoconut Says:

    …And my guess is you probably will. Growing up under the wing of beautiful people like that tends to teach you. She sounds wonderful!

    The plant you were asking about in my post are the seedpods of a bamboo palm.

    • Mrs. Mediocrity Says:

      Thanks for stopping by…she is pretty wonderful! And love that bamboo palm, but guess it won’t be an option in Upstate NY!

  • Quinn Says:

    A beautifully written piece on the woman we all love so much. <3

  • Jenny Says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother. She is very proud of her daughter I would imagine.

  • Melissa Brotherton Says:

    My husband always says that as men age they grow softer, more sensitive, and
    women become harder, more bitter. I’m hoping to buck that trend. It sounds like your mom has. What a great example to have in your life.

    • Mrs. Mediocrity Says:

      Hmmm, never thought of that way, but it is exactly what I, too, am hoping to avoid…thanks so much for stopping by!

  • the domestic fringe Says:

    Wow. Your mom sounds like an amazing woman. She sounds like the kind of person I’d like to be now. I hope as I age, I can do so with grace. You’re right, it’s rare to go through life without allowing it to make you bitter. This was a really great post.


    • Mrs. Mediocrity Says:

      thank you so much, and also for stopping by…my mom is amazing and a real inspiration to me. She has taught me so much about forgiveness, and living in the moment, and that staying young is more state of mind than state of body!

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