E S S A Y On my most recent visit from Seattle to Washington DC, I accompanied my two and five-year-old grandsons to the park adjacent to their preschool.
My older grandson was climbing on the jungle gym next to another little girl in his class. Out of the blue, she bellowed: “Is that old lady your grandma?”
I turned around looking for an old lady –
I envisioned my grandmother of yesteryear; silver hair tied in a bun, a kerchief around her neck with glasses falling off her nose. Her plump attire consisted of a housedress that zipped in front, stockings rolled up under her knees and black shoes with a chunky heel.
I didn’t see any resemblance of such a person.
Oh my, I thought. She means ME.
Sure, I am in my 60’s. But, I dress nicely, never colored my salt and pepper hair, wear make-up and earrings, and I’m fit. Or so I thought.
I was so shocked, I blurted out to my poor grandson, “Am I an old lady?” (Nothing like putting him on the spot.)
He responded, “No, you’re young.”
I don’t think my grandson was deliberately trying to spare my feelings. Maybe, a little. But, I truly think he doesn’t see me as an old lady. I climb that darn jungle gym with him, go down slides, pump high on the swings, get on the floor to play (although the getting up part is a little trickier than it used to be.)
Old lady, my foot.
I told my daughter-in-law about it. She politely told me this little girl is not known for her manners, and can be bratty.
Still stewing, I told my 40-year-old son as well. He said, “Mom, she’s five. To her, we’re old.”
Ellen Reichman, M.ED is a retired teacher and counselor. Her works can be found in local Seattle newspapers, CIRQUE (Vol. 7. No. 2) and CURE magazine.