Monday, April 14, 2008


Only recently has it become less of a dreaded ordeal to take Scott with me when I go grocery shopping. I took him about a month ago and he was good company, so I've taken him more since.

He likes to ride in the grocery cart and examine the items I place therein.

When we got to the cash register the cashier smiled and made a few pleasant comments, the usual. Then he asked, "Your grandson?" "Nope. He's my son."

The first time I got the grandma question was when my older boy was about 9 months old. So I was 41. We'd had a major poop accident on a comforter that was much too big for our home washer and so I'd taken it to the local laundromat. Connor in his stroller and I sitting on a folding table, watching the dryer spin the fabric.

"Are you his grandma?" I looked up into the face of a young-ish woman, the kind who in country-western music terms looks like she'd 'done a lot of living'.

I said, "No, he's my son."

She slunk away immediately. Another woman close by snorted and said, "That's the kind of thing you want to hear."

I said, "But I AM old enough to be his grandmother." Encouraged, the first woman came right back. She said, "I had six, but I was 16 when I got started. Now I been fixed."

This morning Scott said, "Mommy, you're old. You look really old."

Sigh. So the days are gone where his love for me translates into me being 'beautiful'? I was living on borrowed time. It ain't gonna get better, kid.

He said, "You're 51. That's really old." (Funny. In a dream, just the other night, I was admitting to my father, that though I'm 50 and that used to seem really old, I FELT like I was only in my mid-thirties.)

I've been lucky to not be alone and isolated in my geriatric mother status. In St. Louis I quickly found a mother's group that was composed of mothers who were over 40. (It was called "Sarah's Circle". The name took its inspiration from Sarah, Abraham's wife, (mother and father of Israel) having given birth to Isaac long after her time for child-bearing was done. The La Leche League met at a local Presbyterian church in the Tower Grove neighborhood. The pastor's wife had played a strong role in forming the over 40's mom's group--she had naming rights. A very interesting discussion we had during one of our meetings centered around one member shyly asserting her atheism.) Back here in Portland at my sons' schools a quick glance informs me that most of these mothers are not teenaged mommies. So my sons probably aren't destined to be singled out for being the only ones with wrinkled moms and dads, as they probably won't stand out too much in a locker room for being uncircumcised.

I climbed out of the shower to search for some clothes for the day.

Scott: "Mommy, you're hot."

Well, at least he wasn't nauseated. Probably won't be long, though.


IBARMS said...

You ARE hot. What a rush to hear that.

I remember, when I was in school, feeling sorry for the kids with "old" parents. Which probably meant parents 10 years younger than I am now.

I dread the day when my kids decide that I'm old.

Douglas W said...

Ha ha! The young woman in the laundromat who started at 16, had six, and now she's been fixed! Yes, I know the type. She'll be a grandmother by the time she's 32 if her daughter follows her example.

As for "looking old"... think back to when you were at school, say aged 6 or 10, and you thought your teachers were "really old"... well, they were probably straight out of college and aged about 22!! It's all relative!

"Feeling thirty"? Of course. We all do. Before 20 we probably know very little, even though we think we know it all. By 30 we've learned a lot more but probably don't know yet what to do with our acquired knowledge. By 40 we've begun to get it all together... until somebody tells us we're old (and that might be our own mind telling us that)... so we start having the mid-life crisis...

Perhaps you need a chart on the wall like the weather charts - Temperature is 51 but feels like 30! You can change it each day according to how it feels.

And finally "Mommy you're hot!" Well, what more could you want? Even if it was after a hot shower.

excavator said...

IBARMS,I was thinking a six year old son's calling me hot was the equivalent to my parents telling me I was smart/beautiful, whatever--just didn't count *because it was my parents*.

But come to think of it I think it's a little more satisfactory to hear it from my kid. I'll take it where I can get it, and god knows he's going to change his mind very soon.

I can't take the 'old' thing too seriously, for one thing because there isn't anything I can do about it. And, it's true that to a 6 year old, *20* is old!

I hope it's not completely delusional to think that being 50 in the 21st century is nothing like 50 in the...1950's. There's a picture of my grandfather holding me when he was 43, and he looks like today's 70. My father was born when he was 19, and I was born when my dad was 23, so I actually had young grandparents. They still looked old to me.

Hey, Doug, I'd seen other versions of the woman in the laundromat before. My professional work was in home health, and one of my patients was a woman who had fallen off a trail when she was hiking celebrating her 70th birthday. One time I was making a home visit and her granddaughter was there. My patient mentioned she had great- GREAT grandchildren. I said something nice like she didn't look like she could have great-great grandchildren and her husband said, "She can when her grandkids start having kids at age 14!" At which the granddaughter (who was younger than me and a grandmother herself) (and looked it) exclaimed, "GRAND-pa!!!!!!"

That's a moment that still makes me smile.

I like the idea of a chart. This evening the temperature is 51 but feels like a hundred (boys unruly in the car on the way home from the movies).

Hate f()ckng kids. Aging me prematurely.

Martha said...

I wonder if they would ask this question of a guy?
I'm glad Scott is better shopping.