Mom: Age is all in your head

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It is kind of remarkable when you think about all the things that must fall into place in order for one person to come into the world. Two certain people must meet, mate and produce you. And even before that happens, four certain people must meet, mate and produce the two people who become your parents. As you stretch this back, you begin to see all the lives that had to happen exactly as they happened in order for you to be alive on the planet in this moment.

I thought about that because an event years ago is the reason I am here today to type these words. One this day 88 years ago, my mother began her life on this earth, the first child born to her parents.

This morning I called to wish her happy birthday and she greeted me with her usual answer when I asked her how she was doing.

“I’m fine,” she said. “Maybe a little mildewed from the rain.”

“So, 88 years today,” I said.

“Yes, it is,” she said.

We talked for a while about it being her birthday and about what she planned to do on her special day. She said she was itching to get back outside and finish the work she started last week. She laughed when she told me how sore she was from cutting and cleaning her yard. However, since things were still a little too wet, her biggest plan for her birthday was to finish cleaning the ceiling fans in her house.

Then the conversation shifted when I told her she did not look a day over 60. She laughed.

“I don’t know about that,” she said, “but I feel good.”

“Really Mother you don’t look or act old,” I said. “And I know why.”

I told her it was because she didn’t live her life in the past longing for the good old days, wishing she was back there living instead of being present with her life right now.

“I like thinking back and remembering the good times,” she said, “but I don’t wish to be back there because you lose today if you do that.”

I agreed and said that in life you can’t go backwards.

“No, you can’t go backwards. Well, maybe you can walk backwards,” she said, laughing.

“Yes, but you tend to bump into stuff that way,” I said and we both laughed.

Mother said she talked to a cousin recently who is her age. The cousin asked her a question as they talked about their birthdays.

“Did you ever think we would live to be 88?”

My mother said she didn’t know what to say because she never gave much thought to whether or not she’d live to be 88 or 98 or any other age.

“I just get up and think about today,” she said. “I really don’t give my age much thought.”

I told her that is one of the things I admire about her.

“I know people much younger than you who are old,” I said. “They were old in their heads way before they were old in their bodies.”

“If you get old in your head, you get old in your body a lot faster,” Mother said.

I thought about that after we hung up, thought how right on she is about how much your head affects your body. I also thought about how blessed I am that things fell into place and two certain people met, feel in love, mated and brought my mother into the world 88 years ago.

So on this day, I honor my mother’s birth and I thank her for giving me my life. I also thank her example of how to live being present in your life. She demonstrates how to age with grace and how to keep, living, loving, laughing and having fun no matter how many birthdays come and go.