Today Mom would have turned 80. I can’t really align the weight of that number with the liveliness and fiestiness that my mother displayed. I don’t think that for her it would have marked any sense of slowing down or taking it easy. I don’t know that, of course. But when I think about her and how ageless my mother always seemed to me, 80 seems like it wouldn’t have been much different than 60.
I think part of this comes from the fact that we never really knew my Mom’s age as kids nor as young adults. Mom had a very strong belief that her age was definitely not our business. I don’t remember questioning it, I knew when her birthday was. I remember one time I finally saw a piece of ID that had the year of her birth on it. 1940, that was eons ago. I think I was probably in my late 20s before I even knew that.
Turns out that my mother did things a little differently than most of her peers. At the time when lots of young women were starting families and stopping with working, my Mom was out having a career, moving from embassy to embassy and not settling down. She was 33 when I was born and 38 by the time Rupert came along.
I am not really interested in people’s ages. I don’t really think they say a whole lot about the person or where they should be. I know that I don’t really think about my own age as being a point where I should wear responsible shoes, drive a respectable car and join the PTA – to paraphrase Weird Al. Sometimes I catch myself thinking “Well, you are probably more than half way through your life expectancy, what are you going to do with the time that you have left?” Then I think concretely about what I can do to make sure that I am not taking any moment for granted.
Today I went walking with the dogs and my 88 year old walking companion. We talked about her recent solo trip to the east of The Netherlands and how she was still conflicted because while she enjoyed it, she felt that with only old people around her, that wasn’t the mix of active minds and viewpoints that she enjoyed. The dogs were happy to be out after all the rain yesterday and Henry ran the entire way home, which was fun to watch. Kind of like a small dog dogsled team without the snow and the sled.
GG and I went to the Old Harbour in Rotterdam for Mexican food and margaritas to toast Mom. And now, after a good Mexican coffee and rainy weather outside, it’s time to grab the dogs and a book and read.
Love you, Mom, always.