"No woman ever ages beyond eighteen in her heart."
- Robert A. Heinlein
But, I never cease to be amazed at how fast time has flown. I can never wrap my head around the fact that I'm not the starry eyed teenager that saw Star Wars in the theatre 17 times one summer (or some obscene number of times - it might have been more). So, if I was a teenager yesterday, how can I be the old lady of the family now?! Well, I don't know exactly, but here I am. Guilty as charged.
So, it kind of begged the question: who the hell am I exactly? I guess it's about time to figure that one out. But, more to the point, is it time to accept my station in life as an "elder", and what does that mean?
I took Harrison to visit his other grandmother yesterday. It was the first time I had been in her house, but the house did nothing to dispel my impression of her as more a "traditional" grandmother. You know what I mean - like the kind I had. While she didn't have a couch covered in plastic, that was about all that was lacking to complete the picture of a woman who lives a neat, but small and concise life that stopped progressing some time ago. Her television looks new, turned on to Steve Harvey when I walked in, and there is a perfectly huge photo of Harrison on her family photo wall, but other than that, time stopped at some point. Everything is highly tidy, not disturbed by cats or dogs or an active lifestyle, but it could exist equally well 20 or 30 years ago. Not there is anything wrong with that, but it's not even close to the crazy, chaotic life we lead, where I can't keep a couch longer than a few years because dogs live on them and wear them down. I marched in wearing a Rush t-shirt (the band, not the blowhard) and matching ball cap and handed him off to a woman in her practical cotton shirt and polyester slacks and thought to myself, "Should I be more staid and dignified like this?"
Keep in mind that for Valentine's day I got a toy. That I really, really wanted. A remote controlled BB-8 droid. He sits on my desk and talks to me during the day. Occasionally we take a break and I run him around on the floor. I am pretty confident my grandmotherly counterpart does not have a remote controlled BB-8. I'm pretty sure that if she knew I did, she'd have something rude to say about it.
I think, without any empirical evidence to back this up whatsoever, my generation - the men and women who came of age in the freewheeling, disco dancing 70's - have retained a sense of the "Me Generation" we lived through as teens. But, Harrison's paternal grandmother, while a bit older, was young in the headier days of the 60's, yet, like the fictional staid mother in Field of Dreams, I would suspect she took two fifties and moved right on to the 70's, and not the same 70's I lived through. Again, nothing wrong with that, but we are a highly interesting counterpoint to one another, and I pondered which of us is the better role model, given that we're likely to both have a strong impact in his life? The stable, quiet stereotypical grandmother or the scatterbrained, overly busy, dog-loving, Star Wars obsessed, sports loving woman-child who has not ever quite grown up.
It was a brief inner discussion. I'm not young any longer, I have to concede that because I was certainly reminded of that painfully this past week when I was so sick and still having to trudge somehow through the days and nights with a baby in the house. But, I like being young at heart - even to the point of silliness or what some might say is immaturity. I've decided there is nothing wrong with it. And, as for Harrison, I think he'll be well served by being exposed to different types of personalities. I look forward to introducing him to experiences and opportunities, while I know she'll do the same in her own, different way, and she'll be a stable, quiet influence. Together, we'll be a whole and he'll be the better for it. At the end of the day, it's all about love and what's in our hearts. As long as we both love him without reservation, then what we do - or what toys we have - don't matter.
I like to think my Aunt Eleanor would approve of that. She taught me well to keep a sense of whimsy in the face of great hardship. I like to think I got an A in that life lesson.
Love you, Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Jim.
"The happiest adults are those who never buried old toys nor abandoned imaginary friends."
- Richelle E. Goodrich