Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy Birthday to My Mom!

A couple weeks ago I spent several days making like the Morgan Freeman character in Driving Miss Daisy as I drove my elderly parents from their cottage on Cape Cod back to Ohio. Well, except that I didn’t have that spiffy chauffeur cap.

Uh oh. I just re-read that sentence and I see a big, glaring problem with it. What – you don’t? Ah, allow me to explain, grasshopper.

Were my mother to read this blog (which she doesn’t), she would take exception to the word “elderly.” She doesn’t like to be referred to as “elderly.” Even though she is. I mean, once a person turns the corner on eighty, they are smack-dab in the middle of “elderly.” Am I right? And, as of today, my mother is eighty-eight-years old, so there’s no turning back.

Personally, I think it’s a badge of honor to be eighty-eight and still kickin’. If I were eighty-eight, I’d probably be as irksome as a three-year-old digging into his Barney birthday cake and poking people with purple frosting-covered fingers crowing about the fact that he was three. I’d be poking people in line in front of me at the grocery store with my cane, and, when they turned around, I’d crow, “I’m eighty-eight!”

Not that my mother (a) carries a cane, (b) pokes people in line at the grocery store, or (c) has ever been as irksome as a three-year-old. Probably not even when she was three. But I can’t prove that.

Nevertheless, I can’t really blame my mother for taking offense at being called “elderly.” Heck, she’d be mortified to learn that I was outing her in the age department right now. Guess it’s a good thing she doesn’t read my blogs, isn’t it?

Of course, all bets are off when you’re somewhat lower on the age spectrum. Like me. During our long drive across the state of Pennsylvania, mom was talking about something or other and she stopped me completely in my tracks when she referred to me as “middle-aged.”

Well, not literally. I mean, I kept the pedal to the metal, as it were, and didn’t cause a chain reaction pile-up on I-80 or anything. But, me? Middle-aged? No wa-…Oh. Yeah, okay, I guess I AM “middle-aged.”

When the heck did that happen?

Probably around the same time mom moved from Middle-Aged to Elderly.

It happens to the best of us, I guess.

Mom hasn't come up with an alternative to the word elderly, however, so I'm not sure what she'd prefer. Eighty-eight and effervescent? Eighty-eight and elegant? Maybe. Just as long as we don't ever refer to her as feeble, doddering or decrepit. If those words ever crossed our lips, she'd find a cane and would start poking us with it. And there'd be nothin' “feeble” about it.

So, mom? I'd like to wish you an elegant and effervescent eighty-eighth birthday today. I hope dad bought you a purple Barney cake and you're enjoying it like a three-year-old. Purple frosting-covered fingers and all.

But if anyone who reads this happens to see my mother in church or at the grocery store anytime in the near future, please do NOT wish her a happy 88th birthday. Eliminate the year altogether. I might even suggest you tell her she's wearing “Middle Age” well. She won't believe you, but a little white lie couldn't hurt. After all, you never know when she might start carrying a cane...

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