|Posted by jlemmert on January 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM|
I was thinking about people who inspire me and one of the first to come to mind was my mother, Marilyn Willenbrink. She is in her late 70's and is choosing to sell her home and move to a senior living condo in a community that has a care plan to allow people to transition from independence to assisted living to full nursing care if necessary.
She feels sad to leave her current active community, but she realizes that she isn't physically able to care for the upkeep of a home. She has a limp that makes it difficult to walk 100 yards, but she still golfs on the days when carts are allowed. As a retired registered nurse she still volunteers at a medical clinic for the needy each week. She is active in her church and community and once joked that she was busier retired than she had been when she worked full time. I love that my mom chose an active life-style with retirement. But, now, she is slowing down. She's had back surgeries, knee replacements and other medical challenges. She isn't waiting for her children to choose where she should go next. She is living as pro-actively now as she has for her entire life and I admire her willingness to embrace each phase of life with wisdom and dignity.
I am always learning from her. When I was a mother with young children, I thought about how she would handle difficult situations. When I had to let my children go off to college or their careers, I thought about how she graciously and lovingly encouraged me and let me go. When I became a mother-in-law I thought of how she welcomed my husband into her heart and I, in turn, welcomed my new daughter and son-in-laws. I am watching her now as she transitions into this new phase of aging. I don't want her to get old. I want to have my Mom around forever so I can call and ask her advice or share a funny story. I love my Mom with my whole heart and soul. I pray that I will be a mother who inspires my children and grandchildren and who accepts each new transition in life with dignity and strength. My mother is a woman worth emulating and I thank God for her example. I hope we'll all be women (and men) who love, encourage and inspire others.