Monday, June 14, 2010

Wisdom in Aging - MANN

Interesting how a room full of grandmothers can initiate so much laughter and a ton of topics. I’m always amazed at the wide range of conversational tidbits that surface when I speak to senior women. Even as I am one, I learn from them and wonder what they will think of next. Recently I had opportunity to speak about the wisdom people gain with age, men and women alike. Adding to this is the knowledge that their circle of influence is far wider than they might ever expect.

Although in any of these gatherings, there are always certain family dynamics that rise around adult children and grandchildren, some of the more relevant issues being family secrets, playing favourites and knowing when to listen rather than advice.

An area that received a lot of response was about preparing our grandchildren (and sometimes even more importantly our children, so they can teach their children) about our aging process. Into that mix there are always times when we have accidents or become sick. Glynis Belec graciously shared with me a poem and story that she wrote a while back to explain to Trenton, her then three-year-old grandson, why her hair had disappeared. When I finished reading it, the whole room erupted with applause. Even though it’s difficult to share honestly with loved ones, it’s so important to do it.

Recently, I thought I’d like to have silver-white hair like my husband. I had his vote and my own, but one of my sons said, “Why would you like to do that, Mother.” Another time when I complained about ‘not being able to do that anymore’, another son said, “Just do it, Mother.” Even when our statements might be misunderstood, I believe that it’s important to celebrate our age, the colour of our hair and even sometimes our creaky bones.

I don’t plan on going anywhere, but I continue to ask how can I be a better Mother. And how can I be the kind of Grandmother that all my grandkids will remember with love. I'm still learning this one on a daily basis. Spending time with them whenever I can is a high goal. And those with whom I can’t spend physical time, I email a little extra or surprise them by showing up a little more often on their Facebook, right along with all their friends.

Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.” I don’t mind getting old-er, in fact I’ve had lots of fun doing it. It does matter because I never want to take life for granted and I always want to appreciate every day as a gift from God.

Donna Mann
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Aggie's Dream - another Agnes Macphail Young Adult Novel coming in September


Peter Black said...

Donna, this piece,written from your mother / grandmother's perspective resonated with me too, as a grandfather who's just getting into retirement.
I'm finding that every creaking bone and aching muscle is a reminder that -- 'Hey I'm still here! There's work to do, people to encourage, and lives to touch. Besides, I can hopefully be more available to my kids and grandkids than when I was a young dad.

Glynis said...

I'm loving the 'if you don't mind, it doesn't matter!' quote, Donna.
I love being who I am most days, except on those days when my mind is screaming 24 but my body is groaning 54! I know it is all relative but now that I am over that 50 hurdle, it's a breeze (with a few hot flashes to boot!) P.S. Thanks for the kind words, Donna. x

violet said...

I too like your Twain quote and your own bit of wisdom added to it: "I don’t mind getting old-er, in fact I’ve had lots of fun doing it." Good philosophy.

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