Bridging the Divided


Recently we went to the zoo with one of our sons, his wife, and their two-year-old. The other set of grandparents joined us, as well. Nice family outing. We fed the giraffes, pet the kangaroos, and got a picture taken with lemurs on Lemur Island. 

When we left our home, I thought I looked pretty fashionable for an aging gal – boyfriend-fit capris, cute summer top, snazzy tennis shoes, and a Panama hat to provide sun protection and a bit of pizazz. Once at the zoo, I realized I looked like every other grandmother there! The horror was rapidly setting in. When did I begin looking like a grandmother? Was it the couple of extra pounds I accumulated? The upper arms that flap like a flag in the breeze? The word matronly haunted my thoughts along with images of women with blue-tinted hair, wearing sensible shoes and support stockings. What was the fix for this? At least I didn’t snap on the fanny pack I seriously considered.

On the day of our grandson’s birth, I decided he would call me Glamma. Nana was taken, of course, and grandma was not an option. I saw myself as the hip Glamma. This was a state of mind the full-length mirror did not support the day we went to the zoo. Now what? 

I loved and adored my grandma. She was comfortable. She kept herself up, sported the requisite poodle-do in a somewhat natural color, wore sensible yet fashionable heels, and drank Hi-Balls with her Bridge Club. I thought she was cool and admired her ability to schmooze with the upper-crust ladies of the community participating in do-gooder committees. I don’t know that any of them were truly upper-crust, except in my mind, given the fact that we lived in a rural town of 3,000. After school, when I stopped by Grandma’s house and Bridge Club, or some other club or committee was meeting, the ladies were dressed in their Sunday finery, pearls, and sometimes gloves. Reminiscent of Aunt Bea from Mayberry, I saw the ladies as round and comfortable, too, and I liked that. 

Now, I suddenly realized I hit round and comfortable status. Ok, maybe not full-on round, but curvier with more hills and valleys than in my younger days. Is sipping Hi-Balls and playing Bridge right around the corner? Do people even play Bridge anymore, let alone belong to Bridge Clubs? 

I am considering new hairstyles for my silver tresses. We watch IZombie on Netflix, and the main character’s hairstyle in one episode caught my eye. The cut was adorable on her, much shorter than I am used to, but I was willing to give it a whirl – until we went to the zoo. Instead of adorable, will I now look matronly? There’s that word again, invading my thoughts. Maybe I will add a swirl of light lavender to a few pieces of hair framing my face, or will it be mistaken for fading blue tint?

Back in the day, and even now, I have been known to turn more than a few heads. True, the heads turning now are salt and pepper colored or balding, but at least the heads are still turning, right? Not that I care, except it is the validation I haven’t faded into the backdrop of life. My husband still thinks I’m adorable. And why not, I can still look adorable in an aging sort of way, can’t I? Know what is sitting in my Amazon cart? Bib overalls with strategically placed rips. That’s right. Tell me those won’t look adorable! 

Remember Ann Margaret and Susan Sarandon – the former sex sirens of the silver screen? Both are still steamy, a little rounder with more hills and valleys than in their younger days, and still acting, albeit in grandmother roles, but rocking their roles. Both seem comfortable in their aging earth suits and ooze confidence with a touch of cougar sex appeal. I bet Ann and Susan wear bib overalls with strategically placed rips. Wonder if I can order a bottle of their confidence from Amazon…..? 

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