It’s June, the month of transitions: summer arrives, weddings abound, and of course, there are the graduations. And this June, the oldest of my three geographically closest grandchildren is among those who are moving on.
No, I’m not shopping for a wedding dress. Not quite yet. It’s simply a middle school graduation. In September she’ll begin high school. But I don’t understand how this could be happening. She was born only 12 months ago, wasn’t she? Can 14 years really have passed already, or are we both aging prematurely?
They say time passes more quickly when you’re “older.” Well, of course, it doesn’t really. A day is still 24 hours. At least, I like to believe that measurement hasn’t changed since my last physical exam. It’s the perception of time that seems to accelerate.
And, while there are varying theories about why this occurs, none offer any suggestions about how to stop barreling towards the next birthday when I’d rather be moseying.
When I was young, and my own children were younger, I didn’t think much about age or aging. However, each rite of passage brought home the scary recognition that time was indeed passing. As a grandparent, the same awareness can be positively terrifying!
I reluctantly admit to being said grandparent for a total of 25 years. Or is it 26? When the first one was three, I delighted in hearing her call me “Grandma.” Now that she’s 20-something and living with her boy friend, I sweetly request that, as honored as I am to be her nana, she refrain from addressing me as such in public places.
The four younger ones are now ages 11 through 17. With the possible exception of the oldest, I don’t yet have a problem with any of them yelling “Grandma” in a crowded movie theater. But as soon as the 14-year-old grows one more inch, and starts using eye liner, I shall look around quizzically and pretend not to notice that she’s referring to me.
I know with certainty that the person living inside my head is way younger than my chronological age. And on a good hair day, so is the person looking back at me from the mirror. Of course I see those little brown spots on my face, but I’ve always been prone to freckling.
I can’t help but wonder if the gap between my demographic and my psyche sometimes causes me to make imprudent decisions. Take, for example, my clothing choices. Considering my DOB, should a grandma’s wardrobe still contain jeans and T-shirts, hoop earrings and animal prints, skirts that are shorter than mid-calf, and blouses without sleeves? Is it wise to reveal that much anatomy, or should I be playing it safe and sticking to exposing only wrists and collar bones?
As for footwear, I cannot now, and never could, walk in 6-inch spike heels, but neither am I ready for “sensible” shoes.
And this grandma does not feel too old to climb a ladder, change a light bulb, hang a picture, or reach a high shelf. For someone my age, this would probably be considered risk-taking behavior. But not quite as risky as walking around in 6-inch heels.
But whether or not the inner me and outer grandma ever reconcile, I look forward to many more Junes, more graduations, and maybe even a wedding. And considering the age and status of the oldest granddaughter, the one who’s no longer allowed to call me “Grandma” in public places, it is not unlikely that this could be soon.
And when it does, I promise to dress appropriately for the occasion, and leave the cleavage to those not yet affected by gravity’s tug.
And perhaps if I’m really lucky, I might experience a great-grandchild, who, at the age of three, has my permission to call me “Grandma.”