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2011-03-23 / Loose Ends

Who would have believed...

Susan Nienow

…that I would ever be old enough to have a grandchild or two? That I would bend over to pick up a pair of shoes and feel like I aged 10 years on the way back up? That I wonder if forgetting the name of the newscaster I just heard deliver the news is a sign of something serious or just one of those little facts that slide in one ear and out the other? That’s a fairly common problem I have – things slipping my mind. I can’t really say that it is getting worse. Maybe I notice it more.

My grandchildren are 3 years old and 3 weeks old – just the age to give me that sense of wonder that the baby was born with such tiny, perfect fingers and toes, and that it hasn’t taken long for her sister to develop and express her own strong opinions. I am also realizing that one of the most important things I love about grandchildren is that all I have to do is show up and enjoy them. Their parents get to do the life lessons, science projects and Halloween costumes.

It’s my duty to buy my granddaughter new crayons with perfect points or a pink purse that will hold nearly 25 little animals. I feel a responsibility to teach her how to shop, just in case her mother misses a thing or two. It’s up to my other half to buy the right kind of swing for the trellis out back. I never thought being a grandmother would feel so magical. I also never thought I would be so glad when the parents came back home.

My grandchildren and being called “Gram” don’t make me feel old. I do feel old when I try to get up off the floor when I have been building castles with blocks. I don’t remember when that happened.

My sense of age comes and goes sometimes by the day, but other times it can vary a good 25-30 years in just an hour. I felt great going into the drugstore the other day. I had just a short list – hair coloring, extra potent body lotion for dry skin and a sunscreen with an SPF of whatever is the highest level this year.

While I was waiting to pay, I had a flashback to an earlier time in a drugstore when my arms were full of sun-bronzing lotion, bubble gum and a pair of sunglasses. I can’t do the gum because I am afraid it will pull out a filling, bronzing lotion has become fake tanning lotion so I don’t get skin cancer and sunglasses have to be polarized to protect my eyes.

Who would have believed that at my 45th high school reunion I wouldn’t care what my classmates looked like or even what I looked like. We chatted about second, third or even fourth careers, retirement, vacation spots and hobbies. I did cover the gray before I went, though.

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