Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. ~Samuel Ullman
I had a wonderful visit with my parents last week. Just 5 days ago I was in Texas, and though the years have found their bodies and have made them slower and weaker, they are still in there, those fiesty, determined people that raised me and helped make me who I am.
My mom has never been a pushover, as she raised us 4 children she let us know that she was indeed in charge. Most of my life she was the SAHM, but she was also the keeper of all things. While she was quick to correct and she became angry at times, she was nurturing in most of her daily routines. Our home was clean, decorated, neat. Our food was good, wholesome, homemade, and plentiful. We were never dirty or allowed to wear worn out clothes. She attended every choral, band, sports performance we 4 were in. Now my mom is 81, and she moves slower, has more aches, sees poorly, but she is just as set in what is important to her. She does her hair and makeup every day! She would not consider leaving her home un made up. She has mostly quit cooking, but we all know it’s still in there, and if begged, she would whip up one of those famous pies only she can make. Mom had 2 light strokes last fall, but she is back, 100% herself, cranky and worrisome where she doesn’t need to be, but she is mom.
My dad…..he was the one you always went to when mom said no, or you were afraid she would say no. He was easy, lose with the money, he would grant any desire he could possibly afford. My dad was good with a slight prank or joke, he made me laugh. My dad isn’t without fault, he had a period of his life when he worked too hard and acted out the stress by drinking. Those years were not not all bad, but if dad wasn’t home at 5:30, it was likely to be a bad omen and I would worry at what mood he would return in. he could be a happy or a cruel drunk. I love my dad, and I know it was a huge problem for him and I’ve forgiven him his shortcomings in this weakness. My dad worked hard, gave us a good home. He offered us all a college education and I am thankful I was able to go to the school of my choice and he footed the bill 100%. It was a wonderful gift. My dad retired at 60, a young man now that I think of it. My parents traveled and did the things they wanted. 24 years later, at age 84, my dad’s physical being is a shadow of the strong man he always was. He was diagnosed with parkinson’s disease over 2 years ago, and he suffers the rigidity the disease imposes on some. His memory is not as sharp, his speech is halting at times. His eyesight is also fading, and his hearing…….well like many men, he sometimes appears to hear what he wants. Despite all these evils of aging, my dad is still an avid news hound. He passed on his love of the news to me. He is a life long democrat and enjoyed the election and the success of Barack Obama. He proudly watched the entire day of the inauguration, and tells me all the time what news he’s heard and what I may have missed.
I love my parents, I cherish them, I pray for many more years to be with them.