Larger than Life
I started noticing that my mom has slowed down some in the past couple of years. Now this was shocking to me as my mother is a tornado on uppers (and that's only for the speed in which she moves not for any destructive reasons). She has always been this way. I am an admittedly fairly in motion person myself, however, I like many tropical storms have periods of quiet rains before a flurry of activity ensues.
My mom on the other hand has no "down time"... well she didn't my whole life until recently. My earliest memories of her are with me, walking behind her talking as she continuously cooked/cleaned/straightened/ ironed when she was home. She worked full time but when she was home oh yeah she worked full time. The many dinner parties she and my Dad hosted and even the ones we went to at the circle of families my parents had consisted of her, and the other Moms, constantly in the kitchen and eating last. They laughed and talked in those kitchens, believe confidences and complaints were exchanged and mitigated, and out they came in a flurry of dishes being served or removed.
I remember once reading and out of the corner of my eye just watching her in my house, she did not sit still even for the TV show she had asked me to put on. She polished, rearranged and then proceeded to tell me how she needed me to take down my curtains so she could wash and iron them. The face I got when I suggested she relax and that I could take them to the dry cleaners left me much like Harry Potter forever scarred on the forehead from the heat of the eyes. I took the curtains down and then put them back up, all within a few hours of course.
So for me to see her sit or start to walk slower is hard. The idea of her getting older finally hit me hard recently. She has more pains, tells me things twice and gets annoyed that she realizes she cannot do it all anymore. For someone like me age is but a number not a definition. My mom has been the same age for years in my head so to see her surpass that has not been easy but I have adjusted.
Recently a good friend of mine saw her dad (who is also a very good friend of mine) go through a serious medical emergency. The thing that struck both her and I with him is that he is "larger than life" type of person who you cannot imagine anything but in motion and impacting the people in the room with him in a good way. It was hard to watch him suffer and relieved when he proved us right .. he is larger than life and fought through this as the powerhouse he is. She may not realize it but I did - she too is a magnetic person and a force of nature - guess there is some truth in the apple not falling far from the tree. I am sure our kids probably would say they cannot imagine us "slowing down" either and for now unless someone sends her and I, with a nice tropical drink in hand to a beach resort and unlimited funds, that probably will not be the case for us doing it.
It is hard for us to stop thinking of our parents as middle aged, somehow for most of us they seem stuck at 40s or 50s they were there before they were that age and they are there well past it. I am sometimes impatient with my mother and her constant trying to help me but I cannot imagine her not doing it. Our parents' aging should be not something we fear but rather we should be making this the time for us to slow down ourselves for a few moments to tell them how amazing they have been to us all of our lives.
Have to go now my mom is over and I believe that her 5 minutes of sitting down are over as I hear her "wouldn't you like to (insert chore here)" call and this time I will roll my eyes before I enter the room with a smile and a "yes Mom".