Me in 1948
It's hard to walk through the landscape with no footprints to follow.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The year beginning on February 25, 2007 has been an unusual one for me. Even without consciously thinking about it, I was aware each day that 59 was my mother's last year on earth. She never reached this age of 60. I can look back in her diary or in the old photo albums and see how she was living at certain ages, but not past 59. How do I know what to do? How do I figure out where to go and what path to follow without her guidance, her example?
Thankfully, I do have my mother-in-law, who turned 80 yesterday. She says it feels pretty good to be 80. She has great health, plays tennis and golf and swims and walks and goes to Curves and voted for Obama! She and her husband go out way more than Tom and I do. :<) And I have a cousin who turned 80 a month ago who is also my role model. She is always on the go. She travels and goes to the gym every day and is joyous about life. (She gave me the gorgeous tulips on the blog header!) So, though I do not have my mom, I have these two wonderful women showing me the way to age beautifully.
I am blessed with my family and friends. The celebrations are going on all week. They began with our waffles and cocktails the other night. Yesterday after church we had brunch with our son and his girlfriend at a great new restaurant. Tonight our daughter, her boyfriend, and some friends are coming over. Later in the week, we'll go out to dinner with friends at 'our' restaurant where we always celebrate our birthdays. I am grateful beyond words.
Happily, I am still close to my five best friends from childhood. Anne emailed me recently and said:
I am going to try and welcome becoming sixty this year.
I love that. We should, and really must, welcome each year, and indeed each day. If there is a secret to happiness, that may well be it.
And Peggy emailed me this morning and said:
I'm right behind you and as you know it happened to S. (her husband) last summer and the world didn't stop turning or anything.
And that's right. The sun came out. My dogs are on the rug in front of the woodstove. It is school vacation. I have the Juno soundtrack on the cd player. I have spaghetti sauce on the stove for tonight's party.
The thing I learned from my mother in my 25 years with her, is the importance of "daily." I don't think I ever heard her speak of the future. She lived her life as it came. She got up every day of her life and did what she needed to do, with joy and humor and fortitude. So, I guess I do have that footprint to follow after all. If she had lived beyond 59, I'm positive she would have been just the same, only older. And that is me; I'm just the same, only older.
Outdoor cocktail time, April 2006