By Judy Reiss
As many of you might know, I have lived in Waitsfield for well over 55 years. And on top of that, this November 27, although I was in the hospital, Malcolm and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary! Fortunately, our children had thrown us a wonderful 50th party on the 7th of November and it was just what I had dreamed of, celebration-wise. All my children and all of my grandchildren were there and nobody was more shocked than I was when Adrienne, Mike and Katie Mei walked up to me because I had just talked to Adrienne on the phone and assumed she was still in Vail, Colorado where she lives. Now the hospital was terrible but I was able to recall my party on the actual day and that made everything bearable!
I think that whole hospital experience gave me a whole new perspective on my life. I now know that life is actually fleeting and that you have to enjoy every single minute that you are alive! Because you have no idea when it will be over. And we all know that nothing stays the same and worrying about the changes that today brings is wasted time. Oh, and before I go on, please take this advice. Never, ever go to the hospital for anything or any procedure without taking an advocate with you! I know that you trust your doctor and assume that you will need nothing that he or she can’t provide for you, but that is absolutely wrong! You need someone to speak for you, and it doesn’t need to be a professional. All you really need is someone who knows you and cares about you. I know that I mentioned before that my daughter, Polly, who is an RN, was working per diem at the hospital where I had my knee replaced and she came into the room where I was supposedly “recovering”. If she hadn’t come in at that minute, I would be dead! How is that for a good advocate? I still tease her today that with that one visit she erased every naughty and bad thing she ever did! Could any of my other loved ones done the same? I don’t know and fortunately I don’t need to find out. But she was able to rally those who needed to take care of the problem and so, here I am today! So. Be absolutely sure you have an advocate!
Before I got sidetracked with the advocate information, what I wanted to discuss with you is taking every single day as it comes with a light heart! Now I know that this isn’t easy. Those of us who are older have a hard time trying to understand what is happening in our world today, especially with our own families and in our own towns. Many of us actually grew up in small, friendly towns like Andy did in Mayberry. We knew everybody and everybody knew us. No one ever heard of a lawsuit especially when it included their children. Heaven forbid a neighbor called and told your parents that they saw you doing something you shouldn’t. And that included and wasn’t limited to a teacher. No parent ever question whether it was right or wrong. The child was always wrong and we knew it. So, what occurred was pretty well-behaved kids. And no parent ever questioned the school officials. They knew you were wrong and any punishment the principal gave you only made what you got at home worse.
Today, things are so different it is hard for the elderly population to understand. Almost no child is ever considered naughty or a bad girl or boy and they are allowed to do what ever they want to. And if a neighbor should reprimand them, they set themselves up for grabbing the whirlwind. Neighbors and school officials need to mind their own business regardless of what they see or even what is done to them!
So, if you are over, let’s say 60, keep your eyes and opinions to yourself. And keep in mind that the parents or young people have no idea what you are talking about. They believe that the good ole days are just a figment of your imagination and that those days never really existed. I know that it is hard for us to realize that they are sincere in their non-beliefs, but it is true. So, relax and enjoy yourself and keep in mind that your advice will not always be accepted with the same good will that you gave it. So, enjoy every day yourself and let them raise their own children! You will find that you feel a lot happier!