Suzy's Blog/July, 2006       Click for Suzy's Blog Summary

Suzy Smith
I was checking out at Trader Joes the other day with a couple of bottles of wine in my basket. As she rang up the tally, the checker looked at me with a twinkle and asked if she needed to see an ID. Without thinking, I replied, "No! Thank God! Been there done that." As I walked out the door, I thought about those kinds of comments which the young often toss in the direction of the not so young. Well meaning I'm sure, but a put down nonetheless. Sort of like saying to a two year old, "And what would the young lady like?" or worse, like patting the dog on the head.

Patting is what my husband gets when we go to a restaurant. It must have begun in his early sixties. The waitress, in the role of his new best friend, ends up patting his shoulder during some slightly flirtatious verbal exchange. We tend to think this is unconscious. To these young women, he is no longer a sexual object therefore no longer threatening, a German shepherd turned golden retriever.

I wonder if these attitudes will change as the baby boomers age and for the most part, the infirmities of old age arrive later. Patting and patronizing comments will be saved for octogenarians plus and those of us who are somewhat younger, but gray and wrinkled, will be recognized for the older and wiser, vital people we still are.

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Suzy Smith
Weíve just come back from a glorious 3000 mile road trip through the west. The scenery was spectacular, but thatís not what sticks in my mind. Iím stuck on the mirrors, all the different ones we encountered in the various places we stayed. Iíve always thought a mirror was, well, a mirror, but no, there seem to be some subtleties. Some mirrors make you look fat, others make you look thin. Some make you look younger, some make you look older. After awhile I began to wonder which reflection was the real me. Should I count the good and the bad and let the majority rule?

Would life be different without mirrors? How would we feel about ourselves if we couldnít see ourselves? Would we think deeper thoughts about who we are rather than how we look?

My 70 plus friends are always expressing disbelief that they are so old. Ignoring those physical deteriorations that we feel, itís only the mirror saying something about how we look in our advancing years. Not knowing how we looked, would we feel younger? I canít answer any of those questions, nor am I going to get rid of my mirrors to see what might happen. Maybe Iíll find my best reflection in the faces of those I love.

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Suzy Smith
ďWhat kind of grandparent are you?Ē asks an interesting questionnaire on the net. Take it! By the time youíve answered several pages of questions, you have a pretty good idea who you are and who you arenít in the world of Grandparentness. I discovered Iím not exactly who I think I am. Oh not that I didnít really know the truth about my performance in this role, but thereís the reality and the fantasy. I want to believe my fantasy, which is, of course, that I am the PERFECT grandmother, always loving, always accepting, never critical, doting, the unconditional lover. What I discovered is, Iím human and so are my grandchildren. We act accordingly i.e. we have trouble maintaining our perfection.

How I wish I could smile sweetly and think, ďOh arenít they adorable,Ē as they leap up and down on my sofas. Instead Iím thinking, ďThose sofas have got to last until death do us part. Thatís not going to happen with this kind of treatment.Ē

Or at Thanksgiving as I pull the frozen pizza out of the oven when a wonderful Thanksgiving banquet has been lovingly prepared then snubbed by our particular young eaters, I want to smile and think, ďWhatever it takes to make them happy.Ē But I donít.

When we have gone out of our way to attend a sports event and our Grandchildren fail to say hello, I want to think ďOf course, they are preoccupied, why bother with us, but instead I feel all sorts of things Iíd rather not tell you about.

Have we grandparents been led down a primrose path, expecting something from this relationship that is beyond human capacity? Certainly it is something special this bonding of young and old, and since it is, in most cases, somewhat at the remove, we can all show our best sides. But isnít it also, bottom line, something like a marriage, a sign on for better or for worse with love as the glue that holds it all together?

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