A few weeks ago (I wrote this pre-surgery) I was visiting my mom who seemed pretty down in the dumps. That's to be expected with cancer and a degenerative and debilitating back issue. Because of the back pain, she's been pretty much stuck at home, unable to move around too much. I wondered out loud, hesitant to bring it up, "Would you be open to a wheelchair?" She quickly said yes. Yes?! Oh my God! We could go shopping together, or out to eat, she could tour my little farm and get to visit the animals again! By the end of the week their church had brought a loaner over. Our plan was to go out on Saturday to shop for her sister/my aunt's birthday. I called to see how her morning was going and talked over speakerphone with my dad and mom—she sounded so perky! I headed over to pick her up and practice getting the wheelchair in and out of the car.
Our first stop was shopping. As I was rolling her through the parking lot she said, "I look so stupid, lord, I can't believe I'm going out like this."
And this is what popped out of my mouth, "You are BRAVE. This is what bravery looks like."
And I realized the truth of it. My mom just turned 75. On the inside she says she's 33 years old. She's always been strong. At 50 years old she started whitewater kayaking with me and started her own business that she ran until just last year. She's always been a powerhouse.
So, to my 33 year old mother, being pushed in a wheelchair is hard to accept but she gathered her courage and did it and we had such a fun day. I think it will always be on that internal list of favorites. The day she rode in a wheelchair. The day she and I paddled down the Lower Haw River together, just the two of us, hopscotching through the eddies. The day we raced down the Nantahala River just to see how fast we could do it.
Getting older is an act of courage. Who knew.
Love to all from the Mother Ranch,
Let me give you a big ol' hug!
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