Never grow up!  Seniors happily living life on their terms

Back in 1978, I remember Mom driving her Chevy Impala convertible cranking the Bee Gee’s with the top down. Toto, Barry Manilow, she loves the songs the “whole world sings.”  She may be a labeled a “Senior,” but she refuses to act old.

From Bandaids to Sleds
Mom was the primary caregiver in the household.  Mostly, she seemed very serious to me.  She was the enforcer.  Made sure we minded our manners, learned how to behave in public.  We addressed our parents friends with a Mr. or Mrs. unless they were relatives. We learned how to eat politely without spitting out food because we wanted to talk with our mouths full.

Mom, Senior life

Notes on the whiteboard tell the story

Mom was often our playmate. She took us sliding (and went sliding with us), was with us at the summer camp on the pond and allowed our friends be there for sleepovers. When she became a grandmother, she did it all over again.  This photo illustrates the relationship with her two granddaughters.She graduated from “Mom” to “Mimi” and loves every minute of it.

She does it all with style.

Before cell phones and voice mail, it wasn’t so easy to stay connected and call home. Access to my parents was not as close as my pocket. I certainly made her worry with my long absences from the phone line when I was in college and while working in New York City living the single life.  But she cheered me on nonetheless as I lived my own life at the speed of light.

Mom has her life
Call it payback, the other day when I didn’t reach her on the phone, I worried, only to find out later on that she was outside playing with her 2 year old springer puppies making snowmen in her yard.

Attitude is everything
The other day I attended an AARP coffee.  Technically, we were all Seniors, but everyone around the table (about 25), was older than me.  Each person introduced themselves and was asked to comment about the snow.  Without exception, each person said something lovingly about the snow, how it brightened up the brown ground, how they loved doing things in it. Other than extreme cold, each person described how they embraced the snow as part of Maine life, as part of LIVING.  It’s a reminder of a healthy attitude of living.  Reminder that positive wins over negative.

This past week has been full of crazy weather. Cold and lots of snow, it is snowing right now and a blizzard is forecasted for tomorrow into Monday. Today when we talked, Mom reminisced about the blizzards of the past. The one in the 60’s when we all tromped back from the Open House at Skillin’s Greenhouse. In the dark, down the street back to our house, we navigated the unplowed road.  It never occurred to me that she may have been frightened, it was an adventure and she made it so!

These days, I am finding myself enjoying the reminiscing and not rolling my eyes. These memories she recounts are ones of positivity and love.  Of people that passed through our lives and some never to be seen again.

Independence is freedom
While I was concerned about the storm coming, Mom is excited about it.  She is ready to batten down the hatches, make some baked beans for supper with her neighbor and is thankful she doesn’t have to drive to work Monday. When I just talked to her on the phone I heard the puppies rumbling in the background and she started laughing.  She lives in the moment and doesn’t get hung up on fear and the unknown like I seem to.

And after all these years, Mom is still teaching me to live.



Kelly Cotiaux

About Kelly Cotiaux

Why are these people getting old? Kelly has noticed her friends and family kids are growing older, going to college, moving out. Health problems that only “Seniors” have and AARP invites a topic of conversation at Bagel Central. Then there is “Mom.” The adventures of navigating life with a Senior Mom that lives 2 hours away. Sometimes all you can do is laugh.