When I was child I thought my mother was superwoman, she always knew everything and had all the answers. When I was a teenager I couldn’t wait to move out and get far away from mom because obviously, I knew everything and parents were no longer needed after the age of 14 (except for money). Between the ages of 14 and 21, I just knew that I had all the answers. Now as a 31-year-old woman, I know with absolute certainty that mom is a mix of superwoman, combined with a woman who does not always have all the answers. The best part; she is not to afraid to admit that she does not have as many answers as I once thought. Therefore, my 31-year-old self can just say that my mother is truly amazing.
A few days ago mom celebrated her 59th birthday. As she reaches her final year in her 50’s, and prepares for her 60th birthday week bash next year, I must say that mom is truly an inspiration, the epitome of the woman who I desire to become. She is over 50, Fabulous, Fearless, and more ready than ever to take on the world.
While I was growing up I strived to make mom proud. Looking back as an adult I appreciate her approach to parenting. She allowed me to make my own mistakes and develop my own life path. If and when I messed up, she allowed me to learn how to fix it, always offering help when she saw that help was needed. It’s funny how life happens and how times change. As an adult, I am watching mom grow into the woman who she was always meant to be. She is meeting the strong, confident, driven woman who has been living inside of her, yet she had always feared letting her out. Day by day as I watch mom grow, and learn I smile. For all those years of her being proud of me, now I am the one who is proud of her.
On the refrigerator at our house in Queens there is a quote by Joel Osteen, it says “your best days are yet to come”. When I go home I always look at that quote and think to myself, wow, mom is actually living that way. I once heard Oprah and Mya Angelou say that life begins after 50. I don’t know what happens after 50 because I’m still tying to figure out my 30’s however, when I think about what mom has accomplished over the past decade, then life must be great after 50. My mom has started to live. Sure she had a life before 50, she is married with 3 kids. She had a life that consisted of taking care of other people, hardly taking care of herself. I grew up watching her give all of her to everyone around her, leaving little to noting left for her as an individual. She frequently put her needs aside to be the best mother for our family. However, today at 59 she can put her needs first to be the best person to herself. She has finally started to show herself that she matters, and with that comes a sense of peace and happiness.
A few years ago mom started going back to school. Taking one to two classes a semester, she has the determination and the heart to earn a college degree. That makes me proud. She pushed me to earn a college degree, I actually did not believe I had a choice to do anything else. Now I can push her to earn her very own college degree, leading her to believe that she has no other option. I tell her not to stop at an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree, to keep going for that master’s or Ph.D. I know she can do it, so why give up.
Being a woman over 50, mom has conquered many fears. She used to be afraid of the classroom, now she has the passion to learn. With the desire to know more information, she is no longer intimated by not being smart enough. She knows she can push through it, and succeed.
Mom was raised as a country girl in the south. She tells the story of when she first arrived in New York City at the age of 18, she was afraid to get on the escalator and ride it to the top of the bus station to meet her uncle who was picking her up that day. For a small town girl, the city was a huge scary place. However through fears, and doubts, she ended up staying in New York, and made the big city her new home. She never trusted that she could conquer the city life, go to a museum, a restaurant, or a broadway play alone. Yet today, she is able to go anywhere in the city alone, and actually love it!
When I moved to Hawaii, mom supported my decision to move to an island in the middle of the pacific, where I have never been before, and knew absolutely no one but myself. She didn’t try to talk me out of it, or ask why. To my amazement she thought it was a good idea. Previously to my move, she had never travelled away from the east coast. Within a year of my move, she had made her first plane trip out to Hawaii. I quickly realized that my crazy, overly impulsive life decision, not only changed my life, but also affected a major change in mom’s life, and that change is very good.
The first time mom made her journey to Honolulu, she was overly fearful. Her first experience of taking a plane for over 10 hours, and having to fly for a full five and a half hours directly over the pacific ocean. Mom has a passionate fear of large bodies of water. Yet through it all, she made it and managed to return to Honolulu the following year. Currently she is preparing for her third trip out to the middle of the pacific, obviously she is filled with excitement.
For the small town girl from the south, mom has grown to appreciate life and what the world has to offer. On her last visit, we traveled to Maui. Many people spend their whole lives dreaming about what it would be like to actually be on the island of Maui, many die never knowing. At the age of 58 mom got her first experience at taking Maui by storm, and that experience was far better than what she had ever imagined.
Now if anyone ever travels with me, trust me, we will do any and everything possible in the least amount of time, probably getting the least amount of sleep. With mom it was no different. We were on Maui, and we were going to explore all of Maui. Mom is afraid of the water, yet she got on a boat to travel to the island of Lanai. Mom is afraid of heights, however without hesitation she went with my idea of taking a tour to the top of Haleakala to watch the sunrise. That is a volcanic crater over 10,000 feet high, and it was about 30 degrees up there. To see God’s work as the sun rises over the clouds is definitely worth facing all fears, and taking in the freezing cold air. Such sights in life should never be missed, that is truly one of them.
On Oahu, I took mom to climb Diamond Head crater. Mom was still afraid of heights, and had never hiked up a volcano before in life. I was taking her on a hike that was 762 feet up a crater. Once we entered the park area, I pointed to where our end point was at the top of the mountain. She laughed, called me crazy, and adamantly said that she was not going up there. Her mind was set and she knew that she was not going to the top of that very large volcanic crater. I nicely convinced her to start walking, we started on the trail, one step at a time, and just kept going. Mom complained, cursed me, and I think she even yelled at me a few times while walking on the trail, then suddenly she could see the top. She could see the motivation to keep going. When she wanted to turn around, I reminded her that she could keep going, one step at a time, she was almost there. In my mind it was too late to turn around, she was so close to the end, why stop now. As she came upon on the final stairway to the top, she was more motivated than ever, other tourist gave her encouragement, and she was able to make it all the way to the top of the mountain. While we were at the top I pointed out to her where she started, and where she was when she finished. She finally saw how far had come just because she kept moving forward, she didn’t turn around, and despite all the odds due to being tired, and hot, she did not give up on herself. A true metaphor for life. She was literally looking down on Waikiki. The fearful southern girl, who moved to New York at age 18, now was over 50 experiencing life while looking down on the beaches of Waikiki. It may have seemed like a dream, but no that was mom’s reality.
Mom thought that she would never make it to the top, but she preserved and broke though her own self-doubt. On her journey she proved to herself that she could do things that she would have never thought were possible 10 or 20 years ago. It’s funny because now she can’t wait to climb Diamond Head again, and even wants to time herself to see how fast she can climb to the top. Yes, I have created a monster. But all I can do is sit back and smile, like the proud daughter that I have become.
Life is for living your dreams, and making those dreams come true. To talk to mom, puts my own life in perspective. Life is short, we have to live it today, life happens quick then its gone. Mom has found love in treating herself, finally. She takes herself on spa dates. Last month while I was in New York we went to the spa at the Trump hotel in lower Manhattan, she was reading a travel magazine which had an article on the Big Island. Now imagine the irony in that since we will be traveling to the Big Island in a few weeks. Just a few years ago, mom would have picked up that magazine and only have dreams of what it would be like to visit Kona, well that day she was able to plan what she would do, what she will see, and what she will eat, WHEN she arrives on Kona.
At 31, mom still is able to teach me so many lessons about life, and growing into a woman. I have realized that you can start living life at any age. Whenever you are ready, life is ready to have you live it. When I look at the 59-year-old woman my mom has become, I am so happy to see that she is more excited than ever as she ages. Her youthful spirit gives her the energy to keep going, he desire to learn gives her the will to grow, and her renewed sense of confidence gives her the ability the face the things she has feared all her life. Through my mom, I have learned how to live. Mom truly sets the example because, like mom, in 29 years as I am approaching the age of 60, I also want to be fabulous, fearless, and ready to take on the world!
Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences