Because of my friend Mac, I softened the title to “older”. It really upsets him when I call myself old. (Maybe because he & I are the same age?) Anyway, this morning as I was coloring my hair, (yes) I was thinking about the difference between my grandmothers and grandmothers of today.
And just an aside; I will always need glasses, I will always have wrinkled skin, but I will NEVER have gray hair! Not that I’m slamming those that do. I have nothing against gray hair. As long as it is on YOU. Your gray hair is probably beautiful. (Or so you’ve convinced yourself). It is simply a choice I made for me. But I digress.
My grandmothers were sweet, church -going, soft-spoken ladies who lived with their grown children and grandchildren. My maternal grandmother lived with us for years. She paid for her room and board by cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and babysitting my brother, sister, and myself. We called her “Bubba”. Bubba and I shared the same room; hell, we slept in the same double bed for years! She taught me how to iron when I was 9 years old. Back then, Everything had to be ironed! I think the only material available was cotton or wool. Maybe linen. There were no cotton “blends”. I started out learning to starch and iron my Daddy’s handkerchiefs, then pillowcases. Back then you ironed sheets, tablecloths, dresses, Everything! Monday’s were laundry days, Tuesdays were spent ironing.
Okay, don’t know how this became about ironing! Anyway, MY grandmothers lived with and took care of their families. They “retired” to their bedrooms in the evenings to read their Bibles or sew. They knew their “place” in the family and certainly didn’t make waves! We all went to church on Sundays, came home to a large dinner, and after Bubba had cleaned the kitchen, we kids scattered, Bubba napped and Mother and Daddy read, watched T.V.
Fast forward to the 2000’s. If you are a grandparent and have Not been lucky enough to retire to Florida (for at least the winter months) then you have one, or maybe two different scenarios playing out in your life. Either you are still working because you need health insurance, but lucky enough that you live separate from your children / grandchildren, but close enough that you can attend Every school, church, sporting function that they have. Or Your home is now home to your grown children / grandchildren. In which case, (I imagine) you are living in Your home, pretty much like my Bubba used to live at my house. It’s YOUR house, but You cook, clean, shop, maybe do laundry for Them, and then retire to Your “Room” to have some privacy! Some grandparents are literally raising their grandchildren as their own.
Anyway you look at it, the ways that we age in this country, in this day and time are Nothing like my grandparents! They were respected, taken care of, loved, even revered! if you remember the last time your grown child or one of your grandchildren told you that you were loved, or appreciated, please – put that in a special place! Oh, we all Know we are loved, but somehow, grandparents have been pushed ” to the back of the bus, ” so to speak. We are trying to stay active, and interesting, and vital in the world, but hey! We are Tired! Some of us are sick! Or lame! Whatever! We are doing the best we can, for our age! Cut us some slack!
And for God’s sake! If you are reading this and you are young enough to still Have your mother or dad, go CALL them! Have your child call them! Tell them they are loved! Take them to dinner. Hell, Fix them dinner! I know you are busy! Tough! We aren’t going to be here that much longer! If you can’t take the time to tell me Now, don’t be all crying about it at my funeral!! Stay tuned.