This morning we woke up bright and early for JJ's first swimming lessons. We got all ready and drove across town to Holladay for the mommy and me class. Unfortunately, although the pool was very warm, the outside air was a bit too nippy for my small one, and class was canceled. I decided to go visit my grandmother as she is in a home close to the area of the lesson. As I walked through the hallways of the Cottonwood Creek Retirement Center with my baby in toe, we were greeted with grins and coos from all of the great grandparents who resided there. Maybe this is boastful to say, but I felt like JJ was such a burst of sunshine in that place. He is like that everywhere we go, but certainly had a special brightness today as we paced the corriders of this building. Let it be known, that the retirment community in which my grandmother lives is not too shabby in and of itself. It is beautifully situated on the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains with large bright windows that look over a maticulously kept mature landscape. However, I think that the elderly among us carry with them a unique plight. Not only could I discuss the countless stories of neglect and abuse that we all too often hear about, but just getting old in and of itself is tough. A world that worships youth and vigor doesn't put much stock in the wisdom that comes with wrinkles and age. My nana complained of a stomach pain that was ceaseless and unrelenting as I looked at the plaque hanging on her wall that read "Woman of the Year,"( an award she had won several years back). I thought about the life that she had led, the children she had raised, as well as her other accomplishments. On the plaque were pictures of great grandchildren... babies and kids. her posterity is rather large. She asked for water and quietly sipped it as JJ bounced up and down on my knee. She does not like to talk much and it was hard to carry the conversation along, but she and JJ seemed to have an unspoken bond. She rached down and touched his toes and said " Your toes are cold 'cause papa's gone to work." They smiled at one another and exchanged happiness between them. She lit up when he clutched her fingers and the beauty of his plump little fingers around her aged and wrinkled ones was a moving sight. I could tell that JJ was ready fro his nap when his arms started flail about at an ever-increasing pace. We kissed her gooddbye and left the way we came in, like JJ was riding a float in a parade.
Interestingly enough, I happened to catch Doug Wright's radio show on the way home. His topic was Elderly Drivers and what protocols should be put in place, etc. I found it interesting to be seemingly ambushed with this theme of aging and the elderly. How hard would it be to be a successful business man, mother, teacher, or whatever and suddenly have the next generation telling you what to do. I am not saying that I believe that the elderly should or shouldn't be driving until age 100, in fact, I am not talking aobut that issue at all for issue sake. I am, however, merely taking it for observation. A man called up who was 87; he said that he asked his children to let him know when he became "scary" on the road. They did and he no longer drives. I thought of the humility and integrity of that man to ask for help from the children he had raised from infanthood. Many times in life we are faced with something that proves difficult for our egos to swallow. It would be easy to excuse ourselves on the basis of good intentions, ability, or just to save face. I want to take a lesson from the man, Jack from Bountiful, who said "let me know when I am done, and I will be done." That is the kind of humility that is seldom praised in our society, but truly shows the character of the person. So, to my nana, Utah's Woman of the Year, thank you for your life and example of strength, ability, hard work and integrity. Your legacy is everlasting.