There are people who have interesting points of view, who make you feel good just talking to them and who have optimistic things to say rather than grousing and complaining about everything. Even if it’s only by long distance…
Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. My mom is a pretty fantastic woman and my greatest wish is that if I am half the person she is then I’ll be pretty fantastic myself. She’s the type of person who says; “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself” without realizing how truly funny, yet morbid it sounds. She also says that she doesn’t want to hang around at the senior’s club because she doesn’t want to listen to “all those old people grumble about their aches and pains”. Mom turned 76 yesterday and she’s still going strong. Some days “strong” is a little slower than usual but she tries not to complain about it.
Since we’ve moved to Panama we’ve encountered people who fall into two categories. The first group of people are the positive thinkers. They’ve moved here for a better lifestyle, have energy and enthusiasm, are building their lives and make every day a great day to be alive. The second group are the moaners and complainers. They are the people that we want to avoid if we want to stay on the positive side of things.
My mom would be the person who would hang out with the positive thinkers and call the moaners on their negativity. This is the woman who went to the local park to run track with me when I was in Junior High, the woman who taught me how to be a mom, the woman who’s always tried to encourage us to be our best and spread our wings. She’s also the woman who apparently bought a number of Mother’s Day cards for me this week so she would have one to send in December for Panamanian Mother’s Day. Last December when she went to the Hallmark© store looking for a Mother’s Day card the clerk looked at her as if she was a senile old woman (her words not mine). When Mom explained that her daughter lived in Panama and Mother’s Day is in December she said it looked as if the clerk still thought that she was a senile old woman and tried to sell her a Christmas card. Needless to say it’s the reason a supply of Mother’s Day cards has now been purchased.
I’m always interested to hear her take on world events. Our conversations can take us anywhere; from talking about the Pope’s fancy red shoes, to how the Oiler’s are doing, to Canadian or US politics. Some of our best conversations are about US politics, we’re Canadian but for some reason the convoluted study of US politics is usually a topic of conversation. Canadian politics are boring in comparison. Yesterday our conversation was in great part about her grandchildren, Rita MacNeil’s funeral and pictures of the snake on my blog. (Mom hates snakes and admits that my brother thought the snake looked pretty cool, she couldn’t even read it.) Mom has six grandchildren ranging from age four to 30. That’s a big spread, especially when the middle ones are young teens. Mom’s my information source for what is going on with the children from my brother’s wee one to my oldest.
Mom has always given us space to mess things up for ourselves. That’s not to say that we are in a constant mess but being allowed to find things out for ourselves helped us to quickly find out what worked and what didn’t. My brother encourages his children (the teens) to call grandma when they come up with an idea that is open for debate. Grandma is the voice of reason, she asks; “What does Dad and Mom think? Are you sure that’s a good idea? Won’t that hurt? Have you thought this through?” And more recently to my nephew; “Well, have you studied for the test? Maybe you’d pass if you did.” Sometimes her comments are just; “Don’t be stupid and listen to your parents!” Surprisingly often times a word from Grandma and a decision is made; usually in the negative. Mom’s gauge is usually right about people, places and things.
I look forward to talking to mom, she challenges me to be a better person, she makes me laugh and smile, she’s supported, cheered and nurtured me and motivated me with new impressions and thoughts. There is no point in hanging out with people who don’t make you feel good about yourself and life. I’m fortunate that one of them is related to me. And having positive people around you makes life so much better in the campo. Happy Birthday Mama, I love you.*
*Mom would say her birthday was yesterday and to quit making such a fuss.