Two women. One’s about to turn 90, and the other one’s already 91. They’ve lived totally different lives but share something in common. Both are fiercely independent and have no intention of stepping foot inside a nursing home.
My Mom turns 90 on the ninth day of the ninth month this year. Mom’s raised six children. She had a nursing career, becoming a “working Mom” way before it was fashionable. She started off working at a glass factory, then in a doctor’s office and for the rest of her career, in a hospital setting. After she retired, she worked as a foot care nurse.
But, you have to see that when Mom entered the workforce, most other Moms stayed home, baked cookies, and kept a tidy house. Mom managed somehow to always have it under control. She delegated and was fortunate to have a great partner, Dad who shared in the housework. All of us kids had our chores to do. Even when we were small, we weren’t too young to contribute by emptying the garbage cans.
Yet, Mom still cooked homemade meals, baked, canned, made jam, and sewed our own clothes. I feel lazy just thinking how hard she worked. She taught us kids independence. Since Mom worked the (3-11) shift, we’d come home from school to find cans of tuna and peas, a bag of potato chips and the recipe for tuna casserole sitting on the counter. I remember being a teenager, cranking the record player to Led Zeppelin’s “Houses of the Holy” album while I vacuumed the living room furniture. And, of course, dusted the baseboards, too! If I wanted to go out on the week-end, the chores had to be done!
Mom and Dad live on their own to this very day. Mom continues to prepare meals and bakes on a regular basis. She still tries out new recipes. She’s fought against the pain of arthritis since her early 20’s and has kept her hands busy in attempts to keep them useable. This is a pic of her hands yesterday. Dad took her for a mani-pedi for her birthday!
Her arthritic hands are beautiful for how many lives she’s touched as a nurse and still uses to bless others. You see, she crochets afghans for the church to donate as prayer shawls for those in need. She’s currently working on a special project for a future great grand-child. Always thinking of others. She never forgets a birthday, be it for a family member, friend or neighbour. Mom’s trademark signature is she always has a hug for everyone.
I have a friend, Christine whose 91 year old mother, Edith, lives a two hour drive away. Edith’s raised eight children. In her lifetime, she’s had many types of employment. She picked tobacco in the fields and worked as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer on freighters in the Great Lakes. She traveled across Canada with two of her sisters to perform on live radio as The Rangerettes. They earned money along the way by playing guitar and singing in bars and hotels.
These days she has enough money to live on her own. But, she wants to have a little bit more; to be able to give birthday and Christmas gifts to her children and grand-children. So, every day she picks up her guitar and busks outside the Pita Pita in London, Ontario. People toss coins into her open guitar case and stay and chat awhile. Little ones dance to her tunes. She is well-known to the restaurant staff. The rule is if she takes anything to drink from the cooler, she is not to be charged. People buy her food all the time, and are quite entertained by her. She loves what she does and has no intention of stopping any time soon.
Two women, both independent souls, keeping far away from any nursing home. Oh, may we all be so fortunate!!
Happy Birthday, Mom!!