My mother advised me years ago “don’t go grey, go blond.” So when those grey beacons starting lighting up my dark hair, I remembered my Mom’s sage advice.
At 84, Mom is frail and in a nursing home. She is living with her 89-year-old boyfriend. She says she has no intension of getting married, but she did make him buy her an engagement ring. She speaks her mind and can play an audience like a fine instrument with well-timed comments. She knows that if she talks about sex, drops the f-bomb or gives someone the middle finger that she’ll get a reaction. No one expects this from a sweet little old Southern Baptist lady with a walker. She’ll tell you she doesn’t smoke or drink, but she’ll tell you with a twinkle in her eye, “So I lie”.
Despite her occasional lie, she is my model on how to age. Whoever said, “Getting old is not for sissies,” was correct. I’ve learned by watching my mom how to pick yourself up when life knocks you down and to stand tall with grace and humor.
I was catching her up on her 22-year–old granddaughter. She asked me if she had a boyfriend. When I said no, she responded that maybe she should get a girlfriend. Apparently Dr. Phil has said this is perfectly okay. While it doesn’t matter to me if my daughter prefers men or women, the fact that it doesn’t matter to my mom either is something I take real pride in. I hope that as the decades pass and I get older that I stay as open to the changing world around me.
Not only have I inherited my mom’s sense of humor, I’ve also inherited her klutziness. My mom and I, as well as my daughter, all have issues with the ability to stay upright. My friends know I’m not known for my grace and my dancing has even been compared to Elaine’s from Seinfeld. Not that it has ever stopped me from dancing to my own beat.
From my female lineage, age is clearly showcased in heel height. Mom, much to her chagrin, is in orthopedic shoes these days. After a recent tumble, she cut her hand bad enough to get it sutured. She had the ER staff in stitches as she regaled them with stories of her love life in the nursing home. “Yes, those nursing aides come in all during the day and night trying to catch me and my fiancé doing it!”
My own acknowledgement of age also has to do with the lowering of my heel height. I gave away my high heels for my fortieth birthday, but by my fiftieth I was divorced and feeling sexy again, so I was back in shoes that made me about 4 inches taller. However, now that I’m half way through my fifties, I must recognize that I have a tendency to fall off those beautiful, sexy high heels. I was warned with my last purchase of an adorable pair of towering platforms that I was likely to take a fall. Sure enough, on my second outing, I found myself face down, spread eagle in a hot parking lot. And unlike a toddler with skinned knees, my knees and bones no longer heal fast. So along with going blond, I’ve now gone to flats.
As I grow older, I’ve stumbled upon a few things. I no longer care if people see me fall down, literally or symbolically. Most of my stumbles are funny and I’m the first to laugh at myself. And if I tumble too hard, I welcome the hands that pick me up again.
Neither my mom or I will ever be described as graceful, but I’ve learned from her to accept aging graciously with a wicked twinkle in my eye. I think I’ll keep those cute tall Spring shoes. My mom and I also like to repurpose things. I should be able to turn them into a flowerpot.
Loved this! Your mother sounds like a “hoot”!
If it’s any consolation, I don’t think I’ve worn heels since I was 25!
She is a hoot! Whenever I write about her she loves to read the comments!
I would expect no less!
Thank you Thom for attributing the getting older isn’t for sissies quote to Bette Davis.
Love the sound of your mum! And she has at least one beautiful daughter that I know of. 🙂
Thanks Karen, that is so sweet of you to say. I’m an only child and so is my daughter. We’re all very similar in personalty and all share the same sense of humor. I appreciate your comment.
Your mom sounds young at heart, and mischievous, too! Like mother, like daughter?
Ginger, there’s no denying this genetic link!
Your mom is living proof that aging can be done with grace!
Walker, I am so lucky to have her as my role model!
Oh, I want to be gal pals with your mom, but the distance is too far. (I’m in KS.) So chat her up for me. And thanks for the cautionary tale about high heels. You make a compelling argument (with that spread eagle image) for donating them to geraniums.
She will delight in all the comments about her. It’s a big family weekend, so I’ll probably have more material for a new post.
I want to party with your mom! Great post!
Thanks! You should come on down to this weekend’s Family Crawfish Boil!!
LOVE YOUR MOM’S ATTITUDE about AGING!!!
“I’ve learned by watching my mom how to pick yourself up when life knocks you down and to stand tall with grace and humor.”
Thanks Laura Lee! I love her wild woman attitude too!
I have dyed my hair, high-lighted, low-lighted, cut it all off, let it grow remarkable long… and dyed it pink on more than one occasion, but only in the last few weeks have I seriously considered doing the mottled blond routine. I may go for it…. but I will never follow my my mother’s blue-haired path. 🙂
Ha! I agree, anything but the blue hair!
Your mother sounds like a pistol. What fun! And what a role model.
Joy, she is indeed a pistol and a great role model! Thanks for your comment.
I certainly understand the sexy heels (at any age)… and being a bit of a shoe maven, may I add that there are some very hot (and height-safe) adorable kitten heels around?
As much as I adore my footwear, I don’t do those monster break-your-face heels. No thanks!
Your mother’s humor (and sauciness) is wonderful. May we all be so feisty – forever.
Wonderful, heartfelt post.
Thanks for your lovely comment. I haven’t totally given up heels, they are just more the 2″ variety. My sweetie is always surprised that after a grocery shopping trip to Target my basket always has a pair in it next to the milk and eggs.
Your mom is so lucky to have a daughter who writes so lovingly about her, lovely post.
Thank you, I’m lucky to still have her around!
Would your mom be open to “adopting” another daughter? She sounds wonderful.
Those shoes make a gorgeous flowerpot, and IMO (being a bit streaked myself these days) the blonde streaks look good on you.
Thanks!She’d be glad to adopt you!
I love the idea of aging with a twinkle in my eye! You are lucky to have a mom you enjoy around to do it with!!
Thanks for the comment and I am indeed lucky!
What a wonderful post…your Mom sounds like a hoot.
I sympathize with you about the lowering of your heel height.
I miss being 3 inches taller.
Thanks, and yeah, I miss the height.
Sounds like an incredible bond between you and your mom. So lovely to read about. You’re both quite lucky, as you surely know. Love the idea of going blond. Smart!
I miss my Mom so much Connie. After reading your post, i’m reminded of that. She was a firecracker- and it sounds like your Mom is too. Something for us all to aspire to. I haven’t given up the heels, but mostly because I’m only 5’3″. Someday….I’m sure they’re going for me too. Great post! Virginia
I’m sorry that your Mom is no longer with you. At 84 I know to treasure every day I have with her. Thanks for your comment.
I also am annoyed about not being able to wear heels anymore. I never realized how difficult shoe shopping would become at our age. Enjoyed your post, Connie.
Your mom is def aging with style! Now that’s a role model I like a lot.
Thanks! She’s been a great role model for me and my daughter.
Wear the heels when you’re horizontal. Still sexy!
Julie, great advice!
Oh I know what you mean about the shoes! I have arthritis in my neck and get dizzy if I where heels too long. I wish I could wear them more, but now I am in flats 99% of the time. My mom is 84 too! Love that your mom is an inspiration for you!
Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry that heels make you dizzy.I think Julie gave great advice, wear heels when you’re horizontal!!