Sunday, June 10, 2007

My Mommy Trip

It's a beautiful day in Hendersonville, North Carolina. The flag is rippling gently in the wind, the sky is a deep hazy blue, and the overnight guests are trooping in and out of the Comfort Inn breakfast area, past the park bench where I sit writing my blog. I've begun another "Mommy Trip".

My mom is 86 and in great health, pretty and active. She and her 81 year old fourth husband (three have died) live in a single family home nestled in a retirement community that makes life pretty easy for them. She's busy taking care of her husband, painting pretty good watercolors (she's paints "people" very well), volunteering a bit, reading quality fiction, and staying in touch with her five children and their families. She has a good life that's likely to go on for quite a while. Yesterday she chatted with a 107 year old woman as one of her volunteer activities, and she thinks that person is old!

My primary purpose here is to get her husband on the golf course for five straight days so she can paint in peace. He's a golfaholic, and he thinks I'm his coach, which is probably right since he plays much better when I talk him through his shots. Nothing makes him happier than to put nice drive down the middle or get a par. I've had to convince him it's time to use the "senior" tees in order to make the course fair for a person of his age, and now he feels competitive again.

Soon I will leave for their home in order to accompany them to church. Then, after a quick lunch and a change of clothes, we'll head off to play nine holes. Later comes happy hour, then a quiet dinner, and I'll return to the Comfort Inn which seems more and more like home after many trips down here from Rochester. This is a relaxing time for me, a time when my overloaded life goes on hold for a few days.

My experience is typical of many baby boomers whose parents retired years ago and are now reaping the benefits of their many years of hard work in a booming economy. We watch over them like they once watched over us. We encourage them to stay active, to get their rest, and to monitor their health. We often see them get more inward-oriented as their interest in the world wanes - after all, they know their future here is rather limited. We hope they don't get a chronic condition that makes their last years or months a time of pain and worry.

I'm one generation away from my mom and step-dad, and probably from a life much like theirs. We are the fortunate ones, born into an affuent society at good time in history and insulated from much of the world where poverty and uncertainty reign. The big question is, did we use our good fortune wisely enough for posterity? Will our grandchildren and the grandchildren of others all around the world say that our generations built the future, or will they complain that we squandered their inheritance in wasteful, self-indulgent living?

1 comment:

Dave said...

So now that he's on the appropriate tee, who gives strokes?