Grateful for my mom, my inspiration

Ida Echevarria at 89

Meet the new exercise instructor, Ida Echevarria. Yes, at 89 my mom now leads a morning exercise class at her assisted living center. This is amazing because of her age for sure. However, what is even more amazing is where my mom came from. She inspires me, because she is a miracle. We have a motto in our family, “Miracles happen when God sees you working on a miracle.”

Six years ago, Halloween night, she suffered a brain stroke and a spinal stroke. She felt a terrible pain in her back. My husband and I ran over when my dad called (we live five minutes away). We called the ambulance, and as she walked down the stairs, she lost use of her legs, and in seconds, she was blank – her mind was gone. She was airlifted to the hospital. We were told for the first time it is doubtful she will survive, and if she did, she would be almost in a coma state. So many times, we were told that or something similar. “She will never walk,” “never read,” “never do her word puzzles,” but they don’t know my mom. It took her four years to get her mind back and five to gain use of her legs. It was a combination of sheer determination on her part. She put on an attitude of joy, and despite what she was being told, she believed the opposite: “I will walk, read, think again.”

My mom has been a superwoman my whole life. She was a teacher, an educational administrator, a marathon runner, a swimmer, a single mom, an aerobics participant, and now, an exercise instructor at 89.

Right now, she is writing lessons plans for her class. Thinking of stories to entertain the residents throughout the class. She asked me to order her books on exercises for seniors. She uses weights, bands, and laughter.

She is so happy. That is her secret sauce: be happy. My mom is optimistic, hopeful, and takes whatever state she is in and makes it better for herself and all.  I’ve seen her angry, I’ve seen her really serious so many times growing up, she was always fighting for us, and at the same time gave us experiences that made us laugh, learn and love life. She never gave up on herself, ever. She took classes on personal development, spiritual development, and positive mindset. When she retired at 55, she embraced a new a part of herself, her funny self. She wanted to laugh, have fun, and be happy. She won “Comedian of the Year” from her women’s golf group. She is always smiling and being fun loving. She continues that today at 89.

I am so grateful for my mom, my role model, my best friend, and her smiling face. She inspires me, motivates me and enriches my life daily.

Ida’s daughter, keynote speaker, coach and author, Pegine, is also a happy optimistic person like her mom. Pegine’s leadership and business blog was named 1 of the top 20 Women in Leadership Blogs in the World. She is also an award-winning author. Her book, “Sometimes You Have to Kick Your Own Butt,” was named the top 10 books for women, four years in a row, by Society of Human Resource Management.