I was watching a game show the other day. Celebrities gave clues, famous people’s names, to contestants and they had to guess the famous person’s name. One clue was, a famous comic book woman hero. Immediately the contestant said, “Wonder Woman.” My husband said, “How did she get that so fast.” I said, well, “I would have gotten that immediately.” Wonder Woman was what I called myself when I was younger.
There was another “Wonder Woman” in my life and that was my Mother. She was the strongest, most adventurous woman I ever knew. Mom was afraid of absolutely nothing. I inherited a lot of my Mother’s traits and personality, but I was never quite as strong as my Mother. My Mother would have traveled the world alone if she had no one to take that adventure with her. She roamed the woods at night when she was a teenager, climbed trees and even slept in a tree or two out there in the dark night. When Mom was in her 40’s, she learned to ride a bicycle. No one told her to cross railroad tracks straight on, so she crossed at an angle and threw herself over the handle bars. She skinned herself up pretty good, but got right back up and peddled away. When Mom was 55 years old she learned to ride a motorcycle. At age 62 Mom had a wreck on her motorcycle and dislocated her shoulder and had some pretty severe wounds. She was in Southern New Mexico when she had this wreck, we had to go bring her and her motorcycle home as Dad followed us on his motorcycle. Before they could set her dislocated shoulder at the hospital she set it herself. She did not want that tube stuck down her throat or any silliness going on to set her shoulder. Having the wreck never stopped my Mom, just months later she bought herself another motorcycle and followed Dad on his motorcycle all over the United States. When Mom was 67 years old she got mad at Dad and rode her motorcycle alone, 1,300 miles to my house. She came roaring into my yard one day on her Honda Shadow. My thoughts of Mom – Wow, there is nothing this woman will not do. Mom rode her precious Honda Shadow until she was 75 years old and had 94,000 miles under her belt. She did not want to give up riding, but Dad became ill and gave up riding motorcycles, so Mom stopped doing something that brought her great joy.
I have ridden motorcycles by myself, but not to the extent my Mother rode. I enjoyed riding dirt bikes across the desert Southwest, more than the larger bikes on the highway. There was nothing my husband could do on his dirt bike, that I could not do on mine. I have traveled across country several times alone, but in my automobile. There was nothing I thought a man could do, that I did not think I could do too. I would lift some 100 lb. object when I was younger and say to myself, “Wonder Woman.” I would fix the clutch on the lawn mower when it broke, use my husband’s tools, cut a board on the table saw if I needed to repair something. I never did all these things quite as well as my Mother.
Mom had one fear and that was claustrophobia and I inherited that fear. Many times Mom and I talked ourselves off that ledge when claustrophobia hit. This fear never stopped Mom or slowed her down, she fought it with all her will. Mom, use to tell me that her and I were not smart. The reason – all these wimpy, little helpless women can get their husbands to help them and take care of them – we have to take care of ourselves. Then we would both laugh.
I always wanted to be able to take care of myself, when and if my husband died. I did not want to be the old lady that her children had to care for. My husband almost died in 2013 and I thought, well I am strong and I will just take care of myself. I was never one to ask for help, always thought I could do anything I set my mind to. My daughter always tells me, “Mom, you do not have to help, let us younger people do that.” I say, “Can’t do that, when I see people need help, I have to help. I do not like lazy people.”
You have to be careful though when you become so independent, because you wear your body out faster than you intended. When I got Fibromyalgia and my arms gave out I told myself I had my legs. Ha – then my legs began to give me problems and I would have to slap a knee brace on one or the other leg. Does all of this stop me, No, I just keep on trucking down the road. I do ask my husband and kids for help now and then.
My motto on this blog is, “Don’t whine, get in line and help others.” That is just what my Mother did, that was her example to me, and that is just what I intent to do until I cannot do it anymore. Wow, it is unreal how much I miss my Mother who has been gone 12 years. Dementia took my Mother’s independent mind and will for adventure from her. I could not have asked for a better role model or example of how to live life to the fullest extent of one’s ability. Thanks MOM!