May 25, 2016


I Just Realized I’m Old

By Lisa Batten KunklemanIMG_2457IMG_4075

“Lisa I just realized I’m old. How did that happen?” Mom says.


I say, “Beats me. You may be up there chronologically but you sure don’t act it. You and Betty White are ‘Da Bomb Diggity’.”


Today is Mom’s birthday. Number eighty-something. Unbelievable. She can’t believe it either. If nobody let on about her age, people would continue thinking she is much younger than her octogenarian status, confirmed only by her birth certificate.


As it is, we use her age to shock folks who are chattering away, to her or in her presence, about So and So who is really elderly, and still driving.


They chat on not knowing they are talking to a contemporary of the “elderly” person they’re mentioning.


“Well, I’m almost eighty-eight,” Mom tosses out with a smile.


The conversation stops while the speaker stares at her in disbelief. “You’re not serious. Mrs. Lois, I never would have guessed it. You look so young.”


“Well, I am. I can’t believe it either,” Mom says.


Often times a person learns Mom’s age and says something like, “Are you still driving?” or “Do you still live in your house?”


Mom just grins, cocks her head sideways and says, “Of course I drive and still live in my house.”


She tells me that people sometimes switch to baby talk when addressing her. At that, she puts on her feisty-lady voice and changes the subject to what she considers a much more interesting topic. That person.


“So tell me what’s happening with you,” Mom says, always interested in others and preferring not to talk about herself. Maybe that’s what keeps her so young, caring about people and things outside herself.


I’ve got a few years to get myself more interested in others than in my own self, but I sure hope to be like her when I grow up. She always has been and still is one heck of a role model.


Happy birthday, Mom. You’re the best!


42 thoughts on “I Just Realized I’m Old

  1. What a lovely tribute. I’m really interested in aging and how we change – or it changes us – and it sounds like your mom is in the driver’s seat, in more ways than one!

    • Thanks Kimberly Ann. Aging is a focus of mine lately. I’ve written lots of essays and blog posts on the topic. Hopefully to combine them into a book sometime. That’s my goal. Mom’s giving me her words of wisdom. And yes, she’s quite a lady.

  2. Lovely tribute.I would like to nominate you for the Leibster Award. Hope you would accept : )

  3. Wonderful post.

  4. Happy Birthday to your beautiful mother, Lisa!

  5. Aw . . . Happy Birthday to your Mom! And good for her, keeping her feistiness factor in practice!

  6. I’ve got to say…your mom is adorable! Amazing read and a very Happy Birthday to her!

  7. Happy Birthday to your beautiful mother, Lisa!

  8. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful mom!

  9. Go,Mom! There’s a big difference between plain old 88, and your Mom’s 88 – yeah, we want to like her!! 🙂

  10. Happy birthday (belated) to your mom, Lisa. She has such a lovely smile, and your post is a fine tribute to her.

  11. Your Mum sounds terrific and how fab you get to enjoy her. A while ago I was lucky enough to live with my Great Aunt Hazel and, at 77, she said to me once, “enjoy your body because one day you’ll wake up, look down and wonder where the old lady came from.” She also said no matter what age, she still felt 28 in her head. 🙂

    • She’s so right. I may not know the woman in my mirror but when I’m driving around listening to feel good music, I look out of 25 year old eyes and I’m sure I look it too. Ha. No mirror peeking does the trick.

  12. Reblogged this on Life Stories and Beyond and commented:

    In honor of my mom, @Lois Batten’s birthday I’m reposting this one. She’s still the bomb dignity.

  13. Happy Birthday to your mom!! Beautiful tribute to her.

  14. Such a sweet tribute!! Happy Birthday to your Mom and I say she definitely doesn’t look 88! She knows the secret! You stay young in the heart and it shows outwardly! 🙂

  15. Happy Birthday wishes to your Mom!! That bodes well for you too!! My mom is 84 and she is as spunky as ever. Her eyesight isn’t great but other than that she’s wonderful and my role model. We’re so blessed to have such strong, independent, happy Moms! Wishing her continued youthfulness!! 🙂

  16. Happy Birthday to your mom! She sounds like an amazing role model. My mom is also in her mid eighties and still living by herself and driving (for now, anyway, she has to get stronger glasses to pass the sight part of the test to renew her license.) And I also get the questions about when we are moving her to a retirement home. My answer is always: “When she wants to, or has to.” She is still quite independent and I see no reason to rob her of that just because people think it’s the proper thing to do….

  17. 88 and still getting around is amazing. I’m hoping by the time I get to my 80s they have developed a way to replace all my failing parts. Your mom’s original equipment seems to be working just fine.

    • Sounds like a good thing to hope for. Yep. I hope her good genes are swimming around in me and I’m pretty sure it’s already passing on to my kids. If you read about my son Sam breaking his kneecap in 6 pieces and then another piece about him climbing Mt Mitchell that will make sense. Thanks for reading and the thoughtful comments.

  18. Wow Lisa, your Mom is looking very Spritely for 88 and what ever she is doing may she keep doing just that.. 🙂 Wishing her Many Happy Returns..
    Love and Blessings..
    Sue <3

  19. Lisa, I love that you shared about your mom in this way. My husband is 87 and very active. He began taking tap dancing the month he turned 80. I am 83. My assets do not tend to the active side, although I do still drive and do most of the things I need to. But I have had some real physical crises the last few years. However, I noticed I have had people describe me as an “elderly” lady the last couple weeks. Crises time! Tell your mom I understand completely how amazing it is that young people think we have to be different in some way from the same people we were twenty/thirty years ago.

    • I hope your physical crises are bearable and don’t hold you down. Ooo that elderly word. I say a newscaster referring to a fifty something grandmother as elderly. I’m 57 and not ready to be elderly yet.

  20. This is such a heart warming story Lisa. Gives us hope that we can live a healthy life well into our 80’s. We need more positive role models of older women. You are very lucky to have her & her wisdom.

  21. Hi there – thank you for your visit. I thought I would answer this because we have an”Elderly” couple in our church – Fred and Hilda. Hilda says Fred is her Toy Boy. She is a 96 whilst Fred is a mere boy at 92. Yes they are still living at home and Fred is still driving and until recently, Hilda was a loved member of the Community Choir. Sometimes I thing the pundits are right and age is merely a number.

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