My mother was beautiful. She was elegant and stylish. She always looked immaculately put together and ready for anything.
She was a wonderful cook, and was able to keep 6 kids and our Dad happy, well fed, and healthy on a very tight budget.
Mom was an artist, and could paint and draw in ways that left me amazed.
As the oldest daughter in a family of six children, I grew up very much in awe of my Mother. She was fiercely opinionated, always outspoken and she never backed down from a conflict. I remember her as the champion of young girls in town when one historically snowy winter had her contacting the principal of the local Junior High School to demand that her daughters be allowed to wear pants to school. “I will send my daughters in skirts when all the boys have to walk to school with bare legs, too.”
She was my hero.
By the time I was old enough to understand the concept of time, I wanted to grow up to be exactly like my Mother. I wanted to be smart. I wanted to be artistic. I yearned to know how to cook and I was determined to become a mother myself.
So much of my life has seen me happily copying my Mom. So much of it has seen me wanting to echo her strength and her resilience.
But something has changed in the past few years, and it has shown me that my mother can still teach me lessons even as I reach the age of Medicare.
Mom is 91 years old now. She has overcome cancer, pneumonia and even Covid 19. She still lives in the house where she raised all of us, where she cared for our Dad through several illnesses, and where she watched as he died.
Most of her children are still around her, still sharing meals in that same kitchen, still watching TV in that same room.
Along with my brothers and sisters, I try to take my turn visiting Mom, and doing what little I can to help take care of her. She has a lovely woman living there as her Home Health Aide. She watches TV, and naps in her favorite chair, with her sweet little kitty on her lap.
I come to visit, bringing home made soup or a pasta dish. We chat and smile and watch a bit of TV.
Then I get back into my car and head home. And I think, for the first time in all of my long life, “Please, universe, please don’t let me be just like my Mom. I don’t want to live as long as she has.” Please don’t let me follow in her footsteps as she gets to the end of her path.
I love this life. I have had a wonderful, joyful, hilarious time on this funny planet. I am in no real hurry to leave.
But please, dear Universe and gods and goddesses and fates, please don’t let me live so long that I am unable to cook my own dinner. Please don’t let me live to be a woman who can no longer sing, or swim in the ocean, or pick my own herbs, or write a blog post, or read a good story. Please don’t hang onto me so long that my children worry over who will weed my garden and who will wash my hair.
Life is a sacred gift. Each of us has our turn on center stage. Life is a fabulous blessing.
I am eternally grateful for the life I have been given.
Please let me squeeze lots more laughter out of it. But please, please, send me on to the next big adventure before I am unable to remember the pleasures that came with this one.