Day 149

Visiting Rosemarie and Nana in Florida with my daughter is a special Spring Break event.  Here in the condo overlooking the Intercostal Waterway we’re four generations in two bedrooms & two baths, just a stroll away from the ocean.

At 101 years old,  Nana is the matriarch. As you might imagine, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from a 101-year- old woman who can still translate a sentence from English to Italian and who spends her days reading on the sunny balcony.  Nana eats three healthy meals, sleeps and wakes at the same time every day, always answers her cell phone, and has a little wine with dinner each evening. She’s travelled extensively, taught for more than fifty years, and never learned to drive. Which means, friends, that she walked everywhere.  So if you’re looking for the secret to her longevity, that might just be a good place to begin.

Rosemarie, my mother-in-law, is somewhere in her seventies and as long as she can still whip my butt on the tennis court I will never even TRY to remember her exact age. This is a beautiful woman who raised five children of her own and three step-children, is known and loved by more than a dozen grandchildren and a few great-grandchildren, and who is so generous that she vacates her master bedroom suite when Melissa and I arrive, insists we sleep in her bed and use her master bath, makes heart-shaped waffles for us in the morning, and says “really, you can borrow anything you find in the condo,” and means it.

Many walkers will no doubt recall Rosemarie’s secret to a happy life is to exercise every day. Nana’s secret to a happy life is to take each day as it comes….and to work hard.

In Florida I try do a little of everything: swimming, sunning, running, playing tennis, and OF COURSE, walking. Balance, optimism, and good cheer is a daily prescription for these women. I’m lucky to be with them, and proud to be one of them. Now that I’m leaving Florida and returning to the northern climate, I won’t be having homemade heart-shaped waffles for breakfast, but I’ll try to keep a little sand in my walking shoes, and to drink in a little dose of longevity with my morning coffee each day.

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