What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

A Valentine to Elderly Mothers


“Why can’t you fly now, mother?”
“Because I am grown up, dearest. When people grow up they forget the way.”
“Why do they forget the way?”
“Because they are no longer gay and innocent and heartless. It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly.”
― “Peter Pan” J.M. Barrie

For those of us fortunate enough to still have a parent with us when we hit middle age, aging parents can be one of the most special and challenging relationships we have as adults. There’s something fascinating and unsettling about watching your parents grow old.

During my mother’s last week with us, I remember a persistent feeling of unreality. I think some part of me reverted to childhood. I kept waiting for her to jump up and be herself again. I kept thinking “But I’m only a kid. I can’t do any of this without her.” But of course I wasn’t a kid. And I did what I had to do. And so did she.

But this whole experience showed me something I’ll never forget about the almost supernatural connection between elderly parents and grown children. There’s a bond there, an understanding that doesn’t happen until we’re older. And I’m very grateful to Mom for showing it to me.

So today’s post is a valentine to my mom. It’s also dedicated to all of us so-called adults and the aging parents who made us who we are and who now need us a little more than we may want to admit.

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

20 thoughts on “A Valentine to Elderly Mothers

  1. Beautiful, Donna. I am in this phase of my life too where the shift is gradually being made to me being the caretaker of two aging parents. I know you must miss your mother terribly as I know I will when the time comes. I probably have no idea just how much.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful one Donna and I know about the bond with parents especially as you watch them age.. It’s most unreal.

    I am spending my day with mom tomorrow

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ah, indeed; mine have now both died and the memories come not in battalions but single spies. It did strike me as one of the great unspoken truths of growing up (like the fact that you would eat second hand food when you had children) that I would one day become parent to my parents. At first little things like dad asking financial advice (of me? A complete incompetent) then should they buy a new car, go one an exotic holiday, sell the family house… Like the worst kind of children they were utterly unbiddable too. But it as a rich seam of experiences for both of us, those last few years, sometimes golden, sometimes crisp and seer. I miss it of course and quite understand why a valentine is essential. Long may you send one.

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  4. Just remember again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My mother will be 85 in less than a month. She is tough as nails and sharp as a tack . . . but she is, I have to keep reminding myself, not immortal. It is a very weird mixture of feelings for us, the senior-citizen-children of elderly parents. We acknowledge the effects that time has had on us, but we will always, as long as we have a mother or father with us, be children. Peace. Love.

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  6. That is lovely. It is hard watching our parents aging, and heart-breaking when they are no longer with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: 365 Days of Beautiful Things!!! | My OBT

  8. Dear Donna, I love reading your one best thing posts and admire your insight, creativity and beautiful insightful and well expressed thoughts and opinions. I am so lacking at times in my ability to expess myself well. I don’t get to read your posts as regularly as I would like, but always enjoy catching up…My mom is in the late stages of Alzheimers. She doesn’t know my name but knows she knows me, and I am grateful for whatever connection we can sustain……I am her aid one day a week, and her endless advocate for her care with my dad, my sister and doctors. I enjoy any time that I have with her and truly don’t resent the time it takes and I suspect this is because of all the love she gave me throughout my life and I know she will be quickly gone sooner than I want in the scheme of life. She had the patience of a saint with me as a child and now she is my child. I am so grateful for the love and patience she gave me. It wasn’t easy and and I am so grateful for having the capacity to deal with her needs now as she progresses through the stages of Alzheimers. I am not as able when it comes to my dad but I try. I have so little patience left with his controlling, selfish viewpoint and the ways it impacts everyone around him…..but I still try.

    I saw your mom one last time probably within the year before she died in Penn Station where is seemed like she was waiting to either be picked up or met on 34th Street…..I wish I had known she was not well because I would have loved to have taken advantage of that last chance to have had a bigger conversation with her……I have always loved the memories of the times I spent in her home as a young child.


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    • Anne, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. We have been spared altzheimers thus far, but I have many friends doing battle with it every day. The day you ran into my mom, it was probably one of her early appointments at Sloan Kettering. Those trips were brutal on her, and I remember how delighted she was to have run into you.

      Sending you and your family all the patience and peace in the world. Hugs.


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