The lighter side of aging

Someone once said, “With age comes wisdom.”

Then someone else immediately said, “Yeah, but sometimes age comes alone.”

My experience is that with age comes usefulness.

A granddaughter, anxious to pass me in height, frequently “measures up” with me by standing nose-to-nose to see who is the tallest. She “measured up” the other day and announced, “I now come to the second line on Grandma’s forehead!”

I knew there was a reason I don’t get Botox. It’s good to feel needed.

One day, helping first-grade English-as-second-language students with reading, I could see that the little Burmese boy following my finger as I pointed to words was intently studying the back of my hand.

I lifted my hand with aging skin, pointed to it and slowly said, “Wrinkles. Wrinkles.”

He repeated after me, “Wrinkles.” He grinned from ear to ear and his eyes lit up learning a new word.

It is wonderful to be helpful, although this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

I’ve always had curly hair and it has become even curlier with age. Recently, a granddaughter asked, “Grandma, if you let your hair grow really, really long, would it hang down straight or just get bigger and bigger?”

The latter, darlin’. I’ll cite Dolly Parton on this one: “Big hair puts you closer to God.” How wonderful to be consulted on something like the potential trajectory of curly hair.

I think.

With age also comes the distinct advantage of not only having read a lot of history, but of having lived a lot of history.

No, I did not personally know George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, or help build the Panama Canal, but I can tell you about telephones that hung on kitchen walls, milkmen who delivered milk to your front door, ketchup that came in glass bottles, record players, June, July and August heat without air conditioning and a summer job I had in college doing data entry that fed into a computer so enormous it took up an entire room.

Due to age, I am frequently the go-to person for an assist on Jumble word puzzles. Far be it from me to ruin the cloud of adulation by explaining I excel at Jumble because I have made so many typos over the years that every misspelled word looks vaguely familiar.

By far, the greatest laurel of “maturing” is having rushed around like a madwoman to get a meal on the table for a large group, being seated at the table and hearing a gentle voice say, “You’re a good cook, Grandma.”

Then another and another and another says, “You’re a good cook, Grandma.” It may be that I am a good cook, but it also may be that no one at the table wants to be outdone. If competition is the means by which I am showered with praise, then so be it.  I accept.



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