(A copy and paste from four years ago – instead of eighty-one, I’m now eighty-five and Alayna is twenty-six.)
The browning album crackled from the weight of the fading pictures as my grandchildren turned the page of the wonderland that used to be. Alayna said to Pete, “That used to be Grandma.”
“No, Alayna, you’re wrong,” I thought. “That girl was never me. I wore her clothes and combed her hair, but she never cuddled my babies, pursued a career, or licked the seal of an envelope containing a final payment. She never climbed my mountains, nor stumbled in my valleys. She had never faced my temptations, nor experienced my victories. That girl was never grandma, but I was once that girl.”
Remembering the incident leaves me thinking about why I blog. One of the reasons I want to become a blogger is because of the opportunity I have to get acquainted with young people. (And at my age, even sixty is young people!) I was raised at a time and in a community where there was almost no “generational” divide. The generations did things together: family reunions, singing rallies, church dinners, baseball, ice skating. Schools often had several ages and grades in the same room. We even went places in the same car! I miss that. I love young people. I have walked in their shoes. I believe I have experiences which would interest them, and I know they have experiences I would like to know about. Most honestly I can see and hear things so I know some things but I don’t understand the reasons why. Maybe I can find out some whys by reading blogs.
A recent story. I was talking to a little girl who I believe had taken a stick of gum and lied about it, but she denied it vehemently. I told her of my experience when I was about her age. I had taken a stick of gum out of my aunt’s sewing machine drawer. As far as I know no one ever knew it, but it made me feel so guilty that I still remember it. She still didn’t confess and maybe she didn’t take the gum. But if she did I wanted her to understand I had been where she was.
Embarrassed? I’ve been there. Feel ugly? I’ve been there. Frantic with sorrow? Up all night with sick babies? Worried? Tight budget? Dejected in love? Loved and been loved? Scared to speak in public? Need tires but no money? I’ve been there.
Back to the photograph. I was that girl. I experienced what that girl experienced. But I knew nothing of the things to come that would make me “me.” Salty tears and delicious laughter, the birth of my child and the death of my mother, the dirge of night and the delight of dawn, the pain of aging and the hope of the eternal. Yes, I was that little girl, but she was never me. And, my precious Alayna, I once walked in the shoes of a twenty-two year old, facing decisions that would determine the actions that would make me an eighty-one year old “me,” with a beautiful, delightful, intelligent, and loving grand-daughter whom I love very much, who someday will be her own “me”. May you be blessed, my darling, now and forever.
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