February 1, 2017

A Lifetime With Friends

My mother’s 95th birthday is fast approaching, and it’s another year that I’m grateful for everything she has done and taught me. Edna is of sound mind, thank you very much,  although she would argue, “I keep forgetting things,” but I think we’ll forgive her at her age.  

Extremely independent, she still lives in a condo on her own, and keeps herself busy with coffee mornings, walks with the neighbours, potluck dinners and strata meetings. Not only has my mother managed to connect with great people over the years, I genuinely believe it has kept her happy and young at heart. For her, every day is a new adventure.

With her vision worsening, I tried to convince her that a cleaning lady was not a luxury but a necessity. My mom is not confident and isn’t ready for change. Shopping online for groceries is not the way of her future. She prefers to shop in person and savour every moment while handpicking her produce and hunting for deals. By the way, I’ve witnessed firsthand what she can pack in her shopping bags! Where does she put it? Did I mention she still bakes bread?

My mom is always cheerful; she occasionally gets frustrated, commenting, “I’m getting old,” but for the most part, she has a great outlook on life.

I remember my mom and her phone calls, sitting on an old kitchen stool, a tea towel draped over one shoulder and talking with her friends. As a child, I would plead with her to get off her call, which would last for hours. My mother didn’t drive, so the phone was her link to the outside world. At 62, she finally did get her driver’s license.

Friends would always drop by, “just in the neighbourhood” my mom would scramble to the deep freeze, pulling out a zucchini loaf or the next best thing, banana bread. Visits would last for hours and sometimes into the evening. I didn’t have any siblings, so without my mother having to say, make friends, it happened through osmosis. I instinctually knew my friends were an extension of my family. Like my mother, we both share a bond with our friends.

There’s a great phrase, “a reason, a season, a lifetime,” referring to friendships. I love this, and I’m sure we can all relate this to certain friendships. Edna has had years of” lifetime” friendships; many of them have passed away, but she still remembers those days like they were yesterday. I have been fortunate to have several “lifetime” friends, and the list continues to grow. I know my “lifetime” friends will have my back,  fight for me, give me a shoulder to cry on and tell me how it is.

As for my mom, Edna, my “lifetime” friend,  she taught me to embrace, enjoy, be tolerant and surround myself with these “special” friends.   Cherish today, remember yesterday; tomorrow comes quickly, and old age hits you fast.


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