28 September 2013

When you're 80

When you're 80, you get to take a lot of pills
A non-resident of the Den, but let's face it, without whom there would be no Den (so for those of you who find yourselves upset by the Den, blame said non-resident, not me), celebrated a significant milestone birthday yesterday. Indeed, my Mom celebrated her 80th birthday. This is no small feat (for some riveting reading on the aging population in America, read here). I mean, how many 80 year old people do you know? The fact is getting older is not for the weak and I am amazed at the strength of my 80 year old mother.

From what I've seen, when you're 80, you've got a lot of leeway on things. Here's some things I've observed:

  • When you're 80, you get to make wild pronouncements, like 'OK, this is the year I'm dying. So this will be my last (insert key event here).' Now my mother has made this pronouncement well in advance of said big birthday, but it's a specious argument in her case. She comes from a long line of stubborn people who manage to live into their 90's without vital organs. Now, they may give up some of the sanity along the way (early in our relationship, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML was accused of stealing my great-aunt's purse at a family reunion. That great-aunt was in her 90's at the time and her conversation with SML up to the accusation was muddled, since she thought SML was her dead husband. Said purse was in her lap the entire time), but like a good Timex, they keep on ticking.
  • When you're 80, you've got children who worry about you, your health, your inability to clear the voicemail messages on your cell phone, among other things. 
  • When you're 80, get honored. It's a big deal. You get surprised on that big birthday. You get discounts. You get good parking, especially if you have that boss parking pass hanging from your rearview window. You are pushed through airports regally, like the Queen of Sheba, and you get to board airplanes early without paying extra.
  • When you're 80, the girls in your family look to you as a trend-setter:
    Daughter, Daughter-in-Law, two granddaughters working that awesome Nana look!
  • When you're 80, you get to hold your first great grandchild. You have family, near and far. But it doesn't lessen the fact that you miss your husband of fifty years terribly. Every. Single. Day. He misses you too.
So 80 doesn't appear to be that bad of a gig. I'm so glad we were able to surprise my Mom a little early and be with her in advance of her big day. I hope if I make it to 80, I'm able to plug away at life the way she is now. I'm just glad she's who she is and that we were able to celebrate her 80th year. Like I said, no small feat, Mom. Well done!

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