Knowing my family as I do, I asked, “Is this some sort of joke? Or are we serious?” (I use the Imperial ‘we’. A lot.)
She laughed but said, “No, this is serious.”
Again, knowing my family, I wasn’t sure what this was concerning but settled in for whatever she was going to hit me with.
“Who needs the intervention?”
“We do,” she replied, meaning she and her husband, my son.
“What’s this about?” I wanted to know.
“You,” she said.
“Me?” I asked, incredulously.
“Yes. Your son and I are having trouble coming to terms with the fact that you are seventy years old! You can’t be seventy years old!”
“There isn’t much I can do about that!” I laughed, happy that the ‘intervention’ was going to be nothing more serious. “Besides, it should be me having trouble coming to terms, not you.”
“But we just can’t think of you as being that old.” (I think that was a compliment. I’ll take it as such.)
Hummmm. What’s a momma to do when her children are suddenly faced with her (and, in turn, their own) mortality?
Well, I invited them over, poured each a nice glass of scotch, (this was going to require the good stuff!) and settled back to talk.
I’m not sure at what age most people face the realization that they will someday die. It is something most of us do not want to acknowledge. Of course, the older we get, the closer to the end we are. I have chosen to be positive and continue to see my mortality in the far distance. I try to make each day count as if it is my last, but fervently hope that it is not.
It hit my father the day of his seventieth birthday. He was not one to keep track of birthdays, which was nice because he always thought I was several years younger than I really was. So, when someone asked him on that fateful day how old he was, he had to stop and mentally figure it out. I watched as the realization hit home. To him, seventy was old. But he didn’t feel, or act, old. How had this happened?
It happened to him the same way it happened to me. And to most of us, I suppose. We are so busy living, we simply don’t notice…
Personally, I think that is the way it should be. We are put on this earth to live, not to try and stop the natural progression of life. Each stage of our lives has a purpose and a need.
My life has sort of come full circle. As a child, naturally, I was concerned only about myself. I wasn’t responsible for any other human being. Now, after marriage and children, where I had other humans to care for, I have passed into widowhood and letting go. I realized a long time ago that my children were self-sufficient and no longer ‘needed’ me. But you never really give up being a mother. The condition just moves into a different realm.
It’s only me now and I can really focus on the things that I want and need to do. And, believe me, the list is long! I still have a lot of things to accomplish. My bucket list is seemingly endless. In fact, I think I’ll need more buckets before it’s over!
So, what did I tell my kids about coming to terms with me being seventy? Like I always say, age is just a mindset. Try to stay positive. And, if it helps them cope, just remember, “Seventy is the new fifty!” We can all live with that!