Each family has its quirks and mine is no exception. Over 20 years ago, my mom served a blueberry pie at Thanksgiving in which she had substituted the entire allotment of sugar for salt. At the time, she announced that she was “losing it” and we just had better get used to the idea. Now she’s over 80 and hundreds of pies later, she hasn’t attempted to pickle us again.
My dad, on the other hand, has always been sensitive about aging. And though his joints continue to provide work for surgeons at Gundersen, his mind is sharp. If someone at the library is searching for a name from Wilton’s past, I have the luxury of dialing up dad’s cell and, nine times out of 10, he can provide not only the person’s name, but what road they lived on and what kind of cattle they raised. He is sensitive to teasing, and if the teasing comes from his sisters he can be a good sport, but if his eldest child mentions (how dare she?) that perhaps he should cut back on his wood chopping hobby, well that doesn’t go over so well.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and perhaps it is because it feels like the first chance I’ve had to check in with my family on a deeply felt level since Easter. As you prepare for time with family this holiday season, you may find anxiety raising over issues pertaining to aging. This may include worry that you can’t keep up with the commitments that you could in past years, or maybe you are worried about an aging loved one. It doesn’t matter which end of the aging continuum you fall, we are all going through it and you do not have to go through it alone. It is a relief to know that you are not the only one with questions or in need of resources.
The Wilton Public Library is holding an open house from 1-2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4 for anyone interested in issues of aging, memory loss or caregiving. We are actively looking for ways to make this community a place where people feel supported, active and included. Please join us.
Gina Rae is director of the Wilton Public Library.