She’s 87 and Quite a Lady!

Yesterday, I gave Project #10, an Inspirational Talk, at my ToastMaster’s Club meeting. The setting for my talk was a mother-daughter event at my church, although I was actually addressing my local club.

I’m posting the text here over the next 3 days. So do come back and finish reading.

Do you remember when you first became aware of your mom’s age? I was 12 years old. My mom was 40. I wondered if I would ever be that old…40.

Ladies, I’d like to introduce you to my mom, Ruth.  Right now she is 87- and quite a lady. I wonder what I’ll be like when I’m 87.

Mom was the oldest of four children, a child during the Depression. Living through that time of history left its mark on a person in unique ways. Mom has odd habits that appear every once in a while. For example, in our house, we didn’t just have one extra roll of toilet paper in the house- we had a whole shelf full- I mean 10-12 rolls…I often wondered what had happened in their family that toilet paper had become such a treasure to be hoarded- but I haven’t asked that question yet.

Mom was the only one who continued her education after high school, completing nurses’ training and then serving in WW II as an army nurse in the Philippines. Mom and Dad married in 1947, had four children, and provided a comfortable life for us. We never knew the sacrifices or challenges that they went through to make that happen, but I’m sure there were many. All four of us went to college and all of us are successful in our own fields. Mom has three grandchildren and one great-grandson. She has a very special relationship with each one: and now as young adults, each grandchild calls her on his/her own for conversations he/she doesn’t have with parents. The kids know that Nana shares practical wisdom—and prays for them.

When adults talk about their parents, they will often say,’ Mom always said…” My Mom didn’t talk- she worked. And she expected that we would, too. So the tape that plays in my head: “If a job is once begun, never leave it til it’s done. If the task is great or small, do it well or not at all.” Of course as children, we would much rather have focused on the “not -at-all” option…but with Mom, that was not really an option!

Gardening is an example of Mom’s life continuing to be one of action. Even now, Mom’s garden is often the destination of residents and their guests. But she does more than gardening. Here’s a typical day: She gets up between 6 and 6:30, has a little something to eat- some carbs, some protein (she takes my suggestions to heart); walks up to the main building where she joins other residents for an hour of exercise. Mom does exercise classes 4 days a week- two mornings a week she does swimming. She found, though, that swimming followed by the exercise class followed by a couple of other activities was a bit much, so on swimming days, she cut back on the group exercise class. On Saturday she actually leads the exercise class! That’s amazing to me because it seems like a total change of philosophy. You see, Mom never related to my dad’s choice of bowling or golf or handball as something he needed to do. Although she cheered for my brother throughout his entire athletic career- her personal philosophy was  ‘be active throughout the day, and you don’t have to do something extra.’  So the reality that she is now LEADING an exercise class at age 87 blows my mind and reminds me that we all can make huge changes in our philosophy at any age!

To be continued

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