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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Time is a precious thing


Are you close to celebrating your 50th birthday yet? If not, let me give you a preview.

About three months before your birthday, you will receive an envelope in the mail from AARP. In case you don’t know what that stands for, that is the American Association of Retired Persons.

Yes, it’s pretty much a shocker to get a personally addressed envelope from them. Your first instinct is to throw it away (which is what I did). Here is a bit of news for you. Your 50th birthday will still come on time, and the envelopes from AARP will continue.

Finally, after months of receiving them, I gave in, and opened up an envelope. I have to admit that after reading their materials, I became an AARP member just to see if it was worth it.

Immediately, I received my first copy of a tabloid-size magazine, cleverly titled, "The AARP Magazine." I have found this bi-monthly publication to be very readable. It has pertinent information, and of course, the typeface is a size I can read without my glasses!

This past March, I opened up to the editor’s page and found an interesting article entitled, “Making Things Right.” It was the editor’s personal recollections of her elderly aunt who had passed away. The editor shared her memories and regrets in not spending more time with her aunt before she died.

“The most important lesson was this: make things right with the people you love, while you have the chance.

That article has stayed with me for the past few months and has rolled around in my mind.

This past weekend, my husband, Garry and I went to Las Vegas to attend a celebration of his twin brother and his wife’s (Larry and Audrey) 25th wedding anniversary. They were thoughtful enough to invite my mom, Frieda, to attend, too.

And so, Mom and I flew from Long Beach to Las Vegas (Garry drove there a day ahead of time). It was an interesting experience to travel with my mom, since she just had heart valve replacement surgery in April. (She is doing GREAT!) We had a wheelchair at the airport and for our stay at the Bellagio Hotel. It was a lifesaver.

I have to admit that I had to take a deep breath as the weekend started on Friday afternoon. I would have to allow almost twice as much time for all the traveling, so my mom would not be rushed. I am usually racing around doing things at warp speed, so I was anticipating a slower-paced weekend, escorting my mom.

But then I remembered the quote from that AARP article. “Make things right with the people you love, while you have the chance.”

My mom and I had a wonderful weekend. I would meet her in her room and she would plop into the wheelchair and we would begin our tour of the hotel for the day. We joked that pushing her around all day was a great workout for my arms. But something else happened. We got to spend time just as mother and daughter. We have not done that for a very long time. We shopped (which, if you know my mom, is just not in her genetics). We looked at the beautiful gardens at the Bellagio, and enjoyed a leisurely lunch with Garry’s family.

In the fast-paced world we live in, we are the “sandwich generation.” We are dealing with the issues and demands of our children on one side, and addressing the needs of our aging parents on the other side. It’s easy to get distracted and rush from one task to the next. But when you get the opportunity to really spend quality time with your parent, an aunt or uncle, or aging friend, I suggest you take a deep breath, slow down and think: “Make things right with the people you love, while you have the chance.”

Most sincerely,

Karen

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6 comments:

  1. Yeah, the letter from AARP can't make you feel that great. But senior discounts might perk you up a bit!

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  2. Karen;

    This tugs at the heart. Your mom is a great lady.

    Enjoy the holiday.
    Rochelle

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  5. Yes it wonderful to be able to spend time with someone you love. Frieda is a wonderful lady and you and Jackie are lucky to have her.

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  6. I really enjoy reading "What's On Karen's Plate" - and can certainly relate to much of what you write.

    Please give my best to your Mom and tell her we wish her a continued speedy recovery from her surgery. I'm amazed she went to Vegas so soon after major surgery!

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