Today 9/13 is always a very reflective day for me. It’s my mom’s birthday. She would have been ** years old! Oh, I’d really like to tell you how old she would be but I can’t for fear that she might come back to seek retribution. You see she was always very secretive about her age. She told no one. When asked she would usually say “over 21” or “old enough to know better.” You see, mom was blessed with a very youthful appearance. Several times when I was a teen and we were out together she was mistaken for my older sister! She loved it!
Yes, mom went to great lengths to keep her age a secret. I remember once when I was in the fourth grade she was driving my sister and me to school and we were running late. She was driving pretty fast when out of nowhere a policeman appeared and pulled us over. I remember him telling her that he’d been a street over and heard our cars exhaust system as she accelerated so he decided he’d better check it out. He wrote her up for speeding and while in the process of writing the ticket discovered that my mom had scratched out her date of birth on her license, which is against the law, so in addition to the speeding ticket, he also got her for defacing her driver’s license. She never did tell him her age though! No way.
I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that mom would be in her late 80’s give or take a few years. I think she’d be okay with that, at least I hope so, if not she may be back to haunt me, but that’s okay. Yeah, I sure was missing her. While writing this I was listening to a compilation playlist on my Ipod and I was a bit surprised when the Moody Blues ‘Tuesday Afternoon’ started playing. It was one of my mom’s favorite songs. We even played it at her funeral service nearly 26 years ago. How fitting is that? She must have been near.
I never really understood why my mom made such a big deal about keeping her age a secret. She was certainly determined. Like so many people these days I know the concept of growing old troubled her. But hell, it’s only a number for God sake! You can’t hold back time so get over it already! Learn to embrace your age and grow old gracefully! It’s all just a part of the trip! Remember, you’re only as old as you feel, or so they say.
In some cultures, the elderly are respected and honored for the wisdom of their years, but in our culture, the elderly are often seen as a nuisance and taken for granted. They seem to become less and less significant with each passing year until they finally pass away or become permanent residents of retirement homes and long term care facilities or if they’re really lucky maybe they’ll wind up at the home of one of their children or maybe they’ll be passed around from month to month among all the children, where they become built in babysitters and the TV becomes their best friend and constant companion. I know this isn’t always the case, but it happens more often than you know.
Yeah, it’s the grand paradox of our time, when you’re young you want to be older, when you’re old you long to be young. Some people do everything in their power to maintain a youthful appearance. Cosmetic firms, surgeons, and laser aesthetic centers are making a fortune on the vanity of our aging generation. It’s ridiculous, they all want to look their best up until they’re laid to rest.
It reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live skit from back in the mid-eighties called ‘Fernando’s Hideaway.” In it, Billy Crystal does a terrific Fernando Lamas impression as a young looking, suave and charming talk show host. He greeted each guest with a “You look maaavelous, absolutely maaavelous!” His credo, which he shared with everyone was “It’s always better to look good than to feel good.” A credo that is wholly appropriate today among our aging populous. I think everyone should learn to embrace their age and embrace life! There’s a certain honor in living a long life. Forget the vanity and simply thank God for each and every day He gives you.
I wish my mom could have had a longer life, but that wasn’t part of the plan. If she was still alive I’m sure she would still be keeping the secret of her years. She was a very determined woman! She was so intent on keeping her secret that she literally took it to her grave. You see her grave marker has no date of birth on it, only the date of her departure. Gotta love her tenacity!
Happy Birthday Mom!