Yesterday, our granddaughter visited with us and during the day we took her to church. We made silly noises with our tongues (before the meeting started), and I bounced her high on “pop! goes the weasel.” Later, when she tired of laps, we watched as she placed her blanket on the floor, then backed into it and plopped down with no fear of the landing. Sitting there, she’d play for thirty seconds until she realized her blanket was not in the best spot, then she’d stand up, move it, back up and plop again. We fed her fruit snacks and gold fish and juice and milk. Then with five minutes to go, she squatted meaningfully right by grandpa’s knee, a look of great concentration on her face.
A couple of families around us expressed afterwards how good we were with her, keeping her content and quiet. One mother said it made her look forward to the day when she could be a grandma. (She didn’t lean in close enough for a good whiff!)
Life is changing: my birth-year now qualifies for certain types of insurance (lol), and most startling, the cherished pictures of my grandparents on my desk do not look as old as they used to. But it’s okay. Change is good. It’s better than stopping, and it often brings wonderful surprises. Being a grandma is just one step of my next adventure.
The best way to face what is coming, is with cheerful anticipation. Years ago I came across the poem by Jenny Joseph that has become iconic. I loved the idea that when I’m an old woman I might run a stick along public railings, press alarm bells, and best of all, wear a red hat. This morning I came across a similar poem by Nadine Stair, that in part reads,
If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances,
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.