My mom turns 70 today. I'm pretty sure she's past the self-conscious phase of life and won't mind me plastering that number all over the internet. I used to think 70 was old. Maybe it is. But one of the mantras my mom repeated to me over and over as I bemoaned turning 30, and then 40, is "Age is just a number."
And as much as I hate to admit it, she's right. It IS just a number. We are not defined or confined by this number. Our only limits are the ones that we impose upon ourselves. Who says you can't be active and have fun at 70? Certainly not this lady.
We celebrated her birthday a little early with a surprise trip to the ocean last weekend. After months of secret reservations, covert menu planning, and careful conversations out of earshot of little people who can't keep a secret, our whole family converged at an awesome vacation home in Dillon Beach.
My mom and dad arrived on Thursday night for a one-week stay. I'm hoping she wasn't expecting a quiet, romantic week at the beach because that certainly isn't what she got. A day later, her kids and grandkids all arrived with screams of , "SURPRISE!" and took over the place with toys, iPads, sandy shoes, bunk bed sleeping debates, and runny noses. A day after we left, four of their wonderful, longtime friends arrived with more shouts of, "SURPRISE!" bringing a fine crab dinner, more wine (I'm assuming) and many hearty belly-laughs.
We celebrated 70 years at her favorite place, with her favorite people, doing her favorite things. Did we spend the day knitting? Heck no. We sipped coffee together, talked, and watched the sun rise over the ocean each morning. We walked on the beach, played games and competed in ping pong tournaments with elaborate bracket structures and questionable homemade rules. We drank wine at night and ate dinner together (all 11 of us) at a cozy table better suited for 8. And we visited Point Reyes Seashore, where every member of our group (ages 3-70) descended over 300 steps (The equivalent of 25 flights of stairs, if you must know.) to a lighthouse perched on the very edge of the earth, high above the Pacific ocean.
I hope when I'm 70 I am surrounded by people I love. I hope I can still be competitive in a game of ping pong and show 300 stairs that they are not the boss of me. I hope my kids will marvel that I'm 70 and be reminded that age is just a number. Because when I grow up, I want to be just like my mom.