She was about 85 and had just taken the leap into assisted living. This momentous transition required quite an attitude adjustment for me as well. I resented the notion that my mother needed assistance with anything!
One day Claudia was talking with Mom a couple states away. Our matriarch — whose parents saw no need for her to attend high school despite the fact she registered the highest score in the county on her 8th grade standardized exam — casually mentioned she was taking a computer class. These half-day sessions scheduled monthly were just one of many conveniences she enjoyed at her new residence.
Incredulous, Claudia objected, “But, Mom, you don’t even know the keyboard.”
With maternal self-deprecation mixed with characteristic self-determination she retorted, “I know … it’s not like I’m going to go out and get a job. I just want to know what my grandchildren are talking about!”
Mom died peacefully just weeks shy of her 98th birthday. Claudia and I were at her bedside along with other family members. She never lost her eagerness to learn. Her admonition to us kids grousing about one thing or another echoes long after her death, “[Fill-in any one of our names], life is pretty much what you make of it!”
Never settled or content with what she knew, Mom was ever curious about what she didn’t know. We learned to expect a well-considered zinger whenever she began with her characteristic, “Y’know, life is strange…” Generally, she nailed it!
Never having the privilege of a formal education, Mom let nothing inhibit her curiosity. Secure in her love for learning — as well as in herself — Mom’s wisdom far exceeded most of the better “educated.” She remains our first and best teacher.
We would all be blessed to finally learn what she knew — remaining ever-curious, always attentive to what we don’t know!