Olivia Newport Mom and Tag

Photo by Larry Mohr

Tomorrow is my mother’s birthday—number 86. (Whooping and hollering here, please.) She’s always been especially proud to share the day with Thomas Edison, and now she actually lives near his winter estate, which we visited together.

Recently a woman in my church celebrated her ninetieth birthday. (You might remember Esther from here.) When I told my mom about attending Esther’s party, she said,

“What’s it like to be ninety? I need to know so I can get ready.”

Well, of course, I was glad to hear her aspiring to be ninety—and beyond. When I told Esther of my mother’s question, her answer shot out with no hesitating.

“It’s hard.”

I like a woman who tells the truth. It’s so easy to smile and say easy things to each other. How wonderful it is to be married. How rewarding it is to have children. What it means to have a job or career we are especially suited to. How great it is to retire. But even the things that enrich our lives the most come at a price, and too often that price isolates us needlessly.

Esther’s response made me wish we would all tell each other the truth about our lives a little more often.

• Who is one person to whom you can tell the truth about your life?