~ Eckhart Tolle
My mom is 80 years old. She won’t care that I say this publicly; in fact, she’d tell you herself if you asked, or she’d volunteer the information if it were pertinent to a conversation. And if you doubt that my mother would have a personal conversation with a total stranger, well, that’s just funny. My mother knows no strangers. If you make eye contact with her, or send her a friendly nod, it’s an invitation to converse. Inside of 90 seconds, she’ll know your name, family history and most intimate story. She’ll then share her own name, family ancestry and at least one intimate secret, before she hugs you goodbye in the checkout lane of the supermarket… or the gate at the airport… or in the library, the restaurant, or the car wash. Her hugs are without boundaries. Besides being a serial hugger, my mom is also on the weakened side of healthy.When my mother was a child she contracted polio. It was epidemic in the 1940s, leaving many young victims paralyzed and taking the lives of others. My mom was lucky enough to survive, but the residual effects of the disease may well be the soil that her physical body is rooted in. Her doctor has diagnosed her as a healthy woman with health issues. She has survived e coli, several bouts of pneumonia and aggressive breast cancer. She battles osteoarthritis; chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease, but before you tsk, tsk with a sad shake of the head, realize that this woman, living in her compromised version of health, is not sulking on the sofa. She doesn’t whine about her ailments. She doesn’t divulge a whisper about pain. She’s living.
She entertains a coffee group in her 10×10 kitchen three mornings a week. She plays bridge in the afternoon, and on the third Saturday of every month she plays poker with her widows group and sips on a glass of beer. She’ll have her bag packed and be waiting by the door if you so much as say, “Hey, do you want to go…?”
Every time I call my mother, she answers the phone with a melodic, “Good Morning!” that sounds like I caught her mid-song. I can actually hear her smile through the phone. When I ask her how she’s feeling, she lies, “Pretty darn good.” And I’m comforted by her fib.
Recently, my husband and I held a sleepover for our grandchildren. The only requirement was that they had to sleep through the night. This only disqualified the baby, although the six who participated were awake hours before the time my husband and I consider “morning.” Anyway, we built our own pizzas and frosted Halloween cupcakes and held a raging dance contest for our half-dozen guests aged 18 months to seven years. It was a hilarious, exhausting and memorable night that was not without the occasional squabble over who got the biggest cupcake, or whose hip-hop routine deserved the greatest applause. During one of these moments, our grandson, Penn spoke up. Penn is in kindergarten but his brain is in grad school. There were tears over who stole more than their share of pepperoni to decorate their pizza, when Penn said, “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.”
Life has a way of creating circumstances we aren’t necessarily prepared for and if we’re honest, stuff we don’t want to deal with. The path between here and gone is paved with mismatched cobblestones. On the good days, the stones line up allowing the freedom to run. And then there are those times when mossy boulders darken the path and we have to gather the strength to climb over them, or move around them, or sit up against them to rest. Sometimes we’re shorted on healthy lungs, and other times it’s pepperoni, but either way we suffer less when we accept the moments in our life as if we chose them, and don’t throw a fit.
Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.