My mom is my inspiration. In faith, family and fitness. And in perseverance.
At 79, Mormor (the Norwegian equivalent of grandmother, or mother’s mother) is still healthy in mind and spirit. Unfortunately, neuropathy has robbed her of her ability to exercise as she once did — with passion, energy and purpose. When my mom walked, it was as if she were doing exactly what God wired her to do.
From the time I was five, my mom, Sigrun Hovland, walked to and around Lake Nokomis near our house in Minneapolis. Five miles. Every day. Briskly. Powerfully. Purposefully.
She inspired others to get out and be active. Other women would stop on occasion saying, “We have watched you walk for years! You are the reason we started walking.”
When I was 18, I started walking, too, beginning a lifelong commitment to healthy living. She inspired me and I realized God had wired me to do the same thing. When I walked, I too felt God’s pleasure!
But when my mom got older, in her early 60s, she started losing the nerves and muscles in her extremities. She was losing her balance and walking became harder. Not to be deterred or, heaven forbid, sedentary, she started riding a bike. She loved it. She felt free. My mom felt like she was flying!
But her disease progressed and eventually she was unable to maintain her balance on her traditional, 10-speed, two-wheel bicycle.
Again, she would not be deterred. Last summer, Mormor moved down to Huntsville to live with my family and me and has since seen a few other seniors riding three-wheel bikes around our end of town.
“I want one of those,” she said.
Mormor was like a kid at a toy store. She found the perfect one at Blevins Bicycle Company. It was a Sun adult trike — the only one in stock. They say they sell about one a year. But this one is special. This one now belongs to Mormor. And last night, she tried out her new ride and it gave her fresh wings to fly.
Mormor is once again able to do what she loves. Not on her feet, but on wheels. Three of them. A very special grown-up tricycle that not only gives my mom a new opportunity to exercise, it gives her speed. And me, inspiration.
Ride, Mormor, ride!