Thursday, July 9, 2015

Grandma at the Beach

Many years ago I read somewhere that "all children think their grandmothers are beautiful". It may have been an essay about learning to live with your aging self. I was too young at the time to take it at face value, but it gave me hope even then.

I interpreted that as "there will always be someone who thinks you're beautiful" as well as "children have the right idea and see beauty in a different way". A child is less judgmental and sees grandma as someone who loves unconditionally (the surest way to get unconditional love in return).

As a much younger woman, I knew a grandmother (the mother of a good friend) whose face was entirely crinkled. She had beautiful, powdery soft skin. The wrinkles were so fine, it was as if you had crushed tissue paper then tried to straighten it out. She smiled easily (deeper crinkles around the eyes), spoke softly in a lilting voice and was beloved by her grandchildren and children (and others like me as well). I've never seen anyone with more wrinkles than Mrs. Q, and —trust me— she was beautiful.

I've reached the age where that passage read long ago puts things in perspective today. We are still here, old enough to have grandchildren whether we actually do or not. We are role models and should act like them, which means less kevetching and more yes-ing.

A week at the beach is coming up. I will squizzle into a bathing suit on a very public beach with no hesitation (the beach wins). I'll walk along the shore, dipping my toes in the lapping waves. I'll hike over to the frozen banana stand. I might even go into the water (if it's warm enough). I won't think twice about— you know— me, because I could be somebody's grandmother.

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