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Fifty-Something Daughter

09 Aug Posted by in Kim Powell | 4 comments
Fifty-Something Daughter

As I saunter into middle-age fortified with tablets of calcium, fish oil, Osteo Bi-Flex and a statin for good measure, I have taken on life’s biggest challenge: caring for a new kid. She’s absolutely adorable, interesting, and charming yet stubborn. She loves to dress up in her finest attire and smear rouge across her cheeks. Putting on lipstick is a joyful ritual that I would never deny her. How could this weathered, independent sea-kayaking guide have such a fashionable gal? I affectionately call her “Bear” but when I’ve reached the end of my rope or am simply worn out, I just call her… Mother.

Two years ago, my now 81 year-old Mother relocated to my town, Santa Cruz, California from Clearwater, Florida. Bear was known throughout her community as the erudite and elegant woman who tutored future doctors, lawyers and other professionals in their high school SAT prep. She cheered them along and decades later could recite their SAT scores while propped up on their examining tables. She was a hero in the community and is missed by many.

In her heroic second act, Bear traded in her Floridian identity and moved to the Wild West to be closer to her two cubs. Brother Michael is an artist on Maui and scoops her up when my kayaking tours land me in the Caribbean. I am very grateful for my brother’s devotion to Bear. He calls her every morning as he sips his Kona blend. Mother and I are easy to spot, as many middle-aged and elderly mother/daughter teams are.  Bear is forever a walking fashion statement, draped in jewels with glistening lips. I’m the one moaning as I haul her overloaded Vera Bradley clutch over my arthritic T-shirt clad shoulder, wearing no make-up, shorts and sensible Keen sandals.

This fifty-something daughter is now the one behind the wheel, cooking balanced meals and encouraging play dates with friends. We giggle in elevators, inch along arm-in-arm and pore over People magazines in doctor’s waiting rooms. Those pleasantly decorated spaces have become as familiar as Larry King. Sadly, all great shows have an expiration date. But I won’t journey down that dark corridor just yet. Instead, I’ll look at each day as a blessing and a bonus. It’s a true gift to spend time with the remarkable woman I call Mother.

Kim Powell is owner, operator and head naturalist at Blue Water Ventures in Santa Cruz, CA. Offering naturalist-led field trips for students and adventurous vacations designed to be relaxing with an educational component for women. Kim has been organizing single and multiple day excursions to extraordinarily beautiful places since 1985. Find out more at

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  • TAMRA ENGLE says:

    I’VE Had the pleasure of knowing Kim for a few years now, aside from being one of her biggest fans, her company Blue Water Ventures provides the greatest gift to water loving humans all around the world.

    My partner and I love what she does so much, when ever family is in town we call Kim and schedule a “outing” on the water, Now family visits are scheduled around times so they can VISIT “KIM of the BLUE”.

    I love her and her business, and if you are ever looking for something fun to do, just call Kim!


  • Eleanor Palacios says:

    Great blog Kim! Makes me want to write about my 87 year old mom who makes me giggle all the time.

  • karen cooper says:

    Kim. I love how you speak of your mother.
    I want my relationship to my mother to be different….That’s a goal of mine… To find the love not just guilt filled duty

    Hope to take a trip with you again

  • Turk says:

    AKAIK you’ve got the anwser in one!