Tag Archive | Aging

Precious memories….

Mom and Remy, SM

I fell in love with him the moment I saw him

Sometimes I have to admit nature figured a few things out right by giving children to young adults rather than to their elders. Occasionally one reads about some woman somewhere who decides to have a baby at the age of 60. All I can say is rocks of ruck lady, it won’t be easy.

When I think of raising my children, I’m amazed I survived all the challenges — illnesses, sleepless nights, accidents, traumas and everything else parenting requires. Besides these, think of the wear and tear parents endure attending to their off-springs’ intellectual and moral development. How did I manage? And, could I do it now?

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A favorite photo of little Remy

Yes, I love my grandson with all my heart. He’s definitely worthy of my love and surely,

Remy young

All photos of little Remy are favorites

as the grandma in a Turkish series on Netflix often says to her grandson, I would die for him. Still I didn’t do much babysitting. I would have liked to, but wasn’t physically up to the task by the time he came along. The few times I did, I worried because….

My children live in a home with about 30 rather steep stairs to climb. I deal with a vestibular disorder which causes imbalance and dizziness. I once watched him (he was an infant) so my son and his Chandra, as new parents, could get out for a rare dinner alone together in the neighborhood. I worried. I’m good at that as you know.

Muriel:RemyReno2017

2017,taller than me already

What’s if there was a fire? How would I get my precious, little grandson, asleep in my arms, down those stairs? I devised a complicated plan. I would place him on the floor at the top of the stairs, sit on the top step, take him back into my arms, and bounce down on my bum one step at a time. I don’t know if it would’ve worked, but it made me feel better. It was never tested thank goodness!

Many of us, as we age, live with a common condition — arthritis. Babysitting with this active, clever child when he was little required the playing of games. When he was about three, he seemed to have the wisdom of a sage. Did he know I was hurting?

He had just been given a new little suitcase, so we played going on vacation. We walked around and around the kitchen counter in opposite directions, he dragging his empty suitcase, with both of us declaring ‘See you later alligator.’ whenever we passed each other. The next time, the greeting was changed to ‘In a while crocodile.’ We laughed a lot. Afterwards, I was exhausted. I’m not sure if he was truly amused, or just babysitting me.

Remy'staller2018

2018, much taller than me

When my son Rafi was about 14, he’d come up behind me as I cooked breakfast on the stove, give me a morning hug and rest his chin on my head. Remy can’t wait to be able to do the same. He’s rapidly getting there.

Yes, Remy, like that grandma in the Netflix series, I WOULD die for you!

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Muriel’s Metamorphosis

Muriel2017

photo by my Chandra

Last night, I went to bed. I was me. My ordinary self. All was well. I snuggled into a comfortable space and took a deep breath. It had been a busy day. I turned the radio on. I like to listen to it when I go to sleep. All was set for an ordinary night’s sleep. Ahhh….

Muriel, probably 19:20 yrs. old

The night before

The next day I awoke. What happened? Where were my arms? They were around here somewhere. I opened my eyes and looked around. Ah, there they were. They reluctantly moved over, obviously still tired. They had been dancing.

happygirlarms

The arms had been dancing

I tried to place those arms where they belonged. One ought to be able to do that. But it isn’t that simple. There is a right arm and a left arm. The flesh had been firm the night before. But, if there had been a breeze in my room, these began to look like they would flap about.

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka, why would he visit me????

I couldn’t stop there. I needed my legs. They were here when I went to bed. This was getting too weird. Was Kafka visiting me from his grave? And why? I looked around. There were a few sets of legs to choose from. They just lay there waiting for an invitation to join me. I don’t usually give invitations before breakfast, but this was an unusual occasion, so I chose a pair.

‘Would you two legs kindly move over and join me?’ I asked tentatively. Was that MY voice????

They looked around doubtfully and conferred before making a final decision. Since no one better was hanging around, the two closest to me decided I was the best they could do at the moment. Where these legs will go tomorrow, I have no idea. Be aware. They may choose your bed instead….

Just last night, I was young and strong. I felt invincible. My skin was smooth. I had no wrinkles. After those legs settled down I dragged my new body (including arms) out of bed to wash my face.

old woman in mirror

The strange lady in my mirror…

There was this strange lady in my mirror who had never been there before. Who was she? And why was she hanging out in my bathroom? Didn’t she have a place of her own to wash up in the morning? Poor thing. One can’t throw an old lady out so early in the day — before breakfast yet.

I dragged that old woman into the kitchen with me. What else could I do? I prepared enough coffee and toast for both of us. What would you have me do? Perhaps I made a mistake because now she won’t leave. She keeps hanging around and her face looks at me from every mirror in my apartment.

gray hair and old glasses. jpg

She’s opinionated

However, there is one compensation. I’m never without company. Sometimes she even has interesting things to tell me when we chat. She’s kind of opinionated.

 

Are they out to get me?

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Are they out to get me?

It’s all Brian’s fault. He had this fabulous guide put out by Harvard Medical School called ‘A Guide to Cognitive Fitness’. I read it with interest while I was his house guest. It offers ‘6 steps to optimizing brain function and improving brain health’.

My brain still functions well enough for me to realize I need help in that area, so I was determined to put into practice some of the suggestions the brilliant people at Harvard had to offer.

It told you what to expect of your brain after 50, 60, 70, or 80. What was Brian doing reading about the aging brain? Was he just telling me I’m getting forgetful? To me, the guy was still a kid. Then I realized that while I’d been aging, so had he and everyone else. I wasn’t the only one interested in the aging brain!

Did I make it up or did it really say it was normalMom report cover for my age to lose some of your short-term memory? That gave me a sense of relief. I’m normal. I would have liked to swipe the darn book so I could show that line to everyone I know, but you can’t do that when you’re someone’s guest.

Okay, my memory ain’t what it used to was, what now? It suggests learning or doing something new. I gave that thought. What can I do that’s new, interesting and fun?

I had already started to learn about Facebook, which I think, for the most part, is the biggest waste of time. (How many photos of someone’s lunch does one need to see?) However, the wise members of my book club had encouraged me to continue, because, said they: ‘It’s good to learn something new.’ (Were they giving me a message too??)

woman_doing_crossword

I’d never done crosswords

Something new? Something I’ve never done? Ah, crosswords. I’ve never done crosswords even though I love words. I decided to try. I had a friend who used to do the New York Crossword Puzzle completely every morning. He told me you got to learn how the guys who write them think and once you did, it got easier. Aha!

I found a crossword for dummies in a local newspaper. Well, it wasn’t called that, but it was easy enough and my friend was right, I got to know the words whoever wrote them liked to use. Even someone with my brain capacity could feel clever. I WAS able to finish them, except when they cheated by using names of athletes or actors I didn’t know. (My ten-year-old grandson could be a great resource for athletes, he knows them all — in case YOU need help with those.)

I learned something else. When I couldn’t find one or two words on the crossword and left it next to my coffee cup on the table, when I got back to it later or the next day, I COULD finish it. How come? I wonder why. (If you know, do let me know. I’m curious.)

So, why am I upset? What happened to that newspaper? Why can’t I find it all this week. I’ve looked everywhere I know they usually are and they’re not there. Is it a plot? A plan to confound my brain before it’s ready to go further?

old-lady-with-walker

They won’t win

THEY won’t win, I tell you! I won’t let them. I’m a fighter. I’m going to try harder ones, the kind real people are able to do. If I can’t finish them, I’ll just write in any letters I want in the blank spaces. Ha-ha! That’ll confuse them — then if they ARE out to get me, they won’t get  the satisfaction of knowing that they’ve accomplished their mission.

Wish me luck.

 

 

 

 

Upon Turning 80

Mom, thinking 2

photo by Susan Kauffmann

I have found whenever I do something to just be a good person, I get back much more than I ever give. This is exactly what happened when I sent Joseph Tresser some information about vestibular disorders because he suffered with dizziness a few months ago — I know how scary that can be.

Little did I realize how much he would help ME get through a challenging, painful period in my own life. With wisdom and knowledge, encouragement, and a wonderful sense of the ridiculous, Joe helped see me through the long wait for and actual hip replacement surgery. His help has been invaluable.
Joe sent me this and gave me permission to share it with you.

MY GOAL IN LIFE — UPON TURNING 80

Joseph Tresser

Joseph Tresser

By Joseph Tresser

Having experienced ups and downs

Over many years

On a rapid train through many countries

From revolutions to hurricanes and shaky earthquakes,

I developed a simple formula enriching

‘My Goal in Life’ which states:

‘Live young, have fun, and arrive at your final destination

As late as possible

With a big smile on your face

Because this would mean

That you truly enjoyed the ride.’

You can’t go wrong, especially so

If you have made many good friends

Along the way.

Outdated files in my brain….

Mom, smile 3

photo by Susan Kauffmann

As I walked this morning, I noticed an orange peel on the sidewalk. The poem our first-grade class memorized immediately popped into my head.

‘Orange peel, banana peel, Lady falling on banana peel
Be careful where you throw it,
For folks slip into hospitals,
Before you even know it.’

Why, oh why do I still remember that silly thing when I couldn’t even remember to take my coffee mug with me to breakfast????

Coffee Mug

I missed my mug, it keeps coffee warmer

Wouldn’t it be better if my brain were filled with current issues instead of stacked with outdated files that could easily be deleted and not missed?

I don’t like it when I can’t recall names I know I know, or search for elusive words that used to be there. Yes, this happens to others too, but I don’t like it happening to me. Humor helps, and friends oblige by  sharing items they’ve received by email on the subject. I don’t know who thought this one up but although I don’t want to ever become senile, it’s worth a chuckle: The Senility Prayer: ‘God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.’

Getting older can be a nuisance. Everything takes longer. Tasks become more difficult and we require more patience. Well, after all what did you expect? Things change. Life is an adventure and a learning process, and old age, if we are lucky enough to achieve it, is part of the journey.

It would be great to become wiser as we age, but I doubt it actually happens. In the same way that education can’t change a stupid person into a smart one, aging can’t perform miracles either. Still, some of us are silly enough to believe we are wiser and have worthwhile advice for those who are younger, so here goes…

If I knew earlier what I know now, I wouldn’t have worried about so many things which, in the end, didn’t really matter. I assure you that years from now it won’t matter if you hate your haircut; ruined the big dinner; were late for work, your boss was cranky; your thighs are too fat or your waist too thick; or that your partner is fed up. In time, it really won’t matter.

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Rafi in his baseball uniform

‘Work on your strengths, not your weaknesses.’ Years ago when my son Rafi played baseball, his coach taught me something I haven’t forgotten. Rafi, a strong, talented hitter, didn’t have speed. I thought I should get him to run faster. His coach suggested I forget speed and have Rafi practice hitting, which he already did well. Speed, he said, didn’t matter because when Rafi hit that ball way across the park, he had plenty of time to make his home run. So, focus on the skills and talents you already have and make them better.

I also had to learn I’m not the center of the universe. No one is watching me. As a teenager, I thought I was too fat to even own a bathing suit. I was sure everyone would stare if I dared appear in such a garment. Finally, as a young mother, I worked up the courage to wear one so I could take my child to the beach. The world didn’t stop turning. Nobody cared. They were busy doing their own thing.

Fat woman in bathing suit

A real woman at the beach

And if you don’t believe me, it won’t really matter either.

Getting old??? Who, me????

Muriel from BlogIn a “Fundraising for Non-Profits” class I took  a few years ago, I was the only gray-haired person in attendance. We discussed money and donations. During a chat with a fellow classmate I realized how much things have changed during my lifetime. I was describing to him how I used to prepare the payroll as a bookkeeper in the 1950s.

In the clothing manufacturing firm I worked for, salaries were paid in cash every Friday, sealed in separate little pay envelopes. It had to be figured out ahead of time, which meant deciding how much was earned either by the hour, or for piece work, or salary — depending on the employee. After deductions were made, I counted how many pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, one, two, five, ten or twenty dollar bills were required  and called the bank on Thursday to order it.

I counted the cash and filled the pay envelopes

I counted the cash and filled the pay envelopes

Come Friday, a trembling me walked over to the bank to pick up the cash, which was probably over $4,000 — a fortune to the scared 17-year-old I was then. The responsibility terrified me and I dreaded it. I saw thieves everywhere, studied every face, and clutched the bag full of cash close to my chest.

I was 17 and terrified someone would steal it from me

I was 17 and terrified someone would steal it from me

My boss had told me if anyone tried to take it from me, to just give it to them, that we were insured. But, that didn’t make it any easier. I would heave a huge sigh of relief each time I made it back to the office intact, where I carefully filled each envelope, wrote on the front of it the employee’s name and details of tax deductions, etc.

“How silly,” the young man exclaimed, “Why didn’t you just pay by cheque?”

“As a business, we had cheques, but the employees needed their money for the week-end, and most didn’t have chequing accounts anyway. I probably didn’t either.”

“Why couldn’t they just use their credit cards??” he asked, incredulous.

The first credit card was the Diners' Club

The first credit card was the Diners’ Club

“Because there weren’t any yet. I remember when credit cards first came out, the  first one was the Diner’s Club, sometime during the 1950s. And, it wasn’t easy to get and besides, it frightened us — we had never dealt with them before. Now, sometimes I think maybe we were right…

Maybe we were right..

Maybe we were right..

Of course, throughout this young man’s lifetime credit cards and cheques have always been available. People now buy what they want today and pay for it later. At that time, we paid for it first and then got it, either by saving up the amount we needed, or using the lay-a-way method — choosing the item and having the store hold it for us until it was fully paid for. We knew how to wait….

This conversation made me feel really old……

Well, I am getting old. I know because I have a child who is 50. I remember that I used to think 50 was ancient. When I turned 50,  daughter Susan, who has a sense of humour, could not imagine having a mother of 50. She searched high and low for a gift that would be older than me — and bought me a fossil. I’m getting ready to give it back to her when she reaches 50 — not that far off anymore. (Ah, revenge is sweet!!!)

I know I’m getting old when I am with family or friends and look around  and everyone is younger than I am. I mention names of movie stars and young people I’m talking to don’t know who they are. I hear on the news that famous contemporaries have died, and note that some of them were much younger than I am.

I can tell what the weather will be like by how much my knees ache. And although my children are extremely patient when I goof with my tenuous relationship with today’s technology, I wonder…. Would I be able to text? Would I be able to handle an I-Phone?

They laugh at my tenuous relationship with technology

I have a tenuous relationship with technology

(My son could not believe I was once trained as a radar technician. But that was eons ago and I was young enough to grasp and remember stuff like that without writing it down.)

These days I know the word I want but sometimes can’t retrieve it — seems like there are too many files floating around in my reluctant old brain. I get invited to more celebrations of life and funerals than I do to parties. I visit friends in hospital, and they’re not having babies.

I visit friends in hospital, and they're not having babies.

I visit friends in hospital, and they’re not having babies.

The professionals who handle my accounting or insurance needs are all kids — I remember when that wasn’t so.

My doctors get younger and younger and I seem to need them more often. My teeth have to be cleaned more than twice a year and I keep thinking how grateful I am to still have them.

Are they old enough to treat me and know what they are doing?????

Are they old enough to treat me and know what they are doing?????

Need I say more???