Today is my mom’s 75th birthday.
But you wouldn’t know her age when you meet her.
A former newspaper editor and writer turned professional portrait photographer, she has always embraced life with a cheery optimism and a vigor that is impressive.
Everybody loves her. Including my friends. Some of them love her more than they do me. But I’m okay with that.
She’s generous and smart and funny. She doesn’t get too mad when my brother and I make fun of her. She indulges us in our immaturity when we are all together.
On top of all this, she is extremely young.
How does she do it? Well, from what I can tell she does it through exercising, keeping her mind active, being social, going new places and trying new things.
She goes to the gym, takes long walks and works with a personal trainer. She started doing Pilates last year.
She hosts a Scrabble group every week. She is an avid reader, always recommending books to me. She has become technologically savvy to a point, learning how to use a Mac, Photoshop and most recently, an iPhone. My daughter has taught her how to text.
And then there is her 30-year marriage to my stepfather, Poppi. Back in college, my friends and I came up with the idea of genius couples. Meaning couples that, if not soulmates, were truly meant for each other. The first pair that was always mentioned was the two of them. And it’s been something we’ve all aspired to.
Separately, the two of them are just amazing people. But together, they are a powerhouse of love, encouragement and fun. I love being with them. As does my husband and our children.
A few years ago, my mom decided that she wanted to transform her portraits, pictures of the same clients taken over a period of years, into a book and combine them with interviews with the subjects. And she has. She produced a beautiful book titled “Double Take: Portraits Over Time” that was published last fall. (My kids are on the front and back cover so I’m a little biased.)
And then there is this: her as a mother and grandmother. A role model. Showing me and her grandchildren how to live a strong life. How to take risks. How to have empathy.
This is how you age with vitality. I’m lucky that I have her to emulate.
Happy birthday Mammoo. I love you.
PS Did my brother write you anything like this today?
(I’m turning 50 at the end of this year. So for the next 12 months, I’m going to tackle different parts of what turning 50 means to me. Here’s entry number four. Find the series here.)