The author with her grandchildren, Cora and Cole
Surrendering to Seniordom, Grandma-Style
By Janice Llanes Fabry
On this Mother’s Day, I reflect on my role and I think of my own mom whose unconditional love still bolsters me today, eight years after her passing. That I’ve become our family’s matriarch, a term I’ve never attributed to myself until this moment, and am turning 60 this year feel more than a little surreal. Facing the reality that there are fewer years ahead of me than behind, that downsizing has become my M.O., and that osteoporosis has reared its ugly head is stupefying.
And there’s no denying the superficial side of 60. Think roots, roots, and more roots. More often than not, I lose the race to my gray, harder to manage than and just as conspicuous as crabgrass on a pristine lawn. As far as collagen, it has definitely left the building. One can go from middle-aged to elderly in the time it takes for those “clinically proven” anti-aging serums to get rid of fine lines and dark spots.
Thank goodness there’s a lot we can do to unleash the age we are in our minds (for me, 35 works.) Keeping fit: I’m dedicated to my yoga practice. Keeping current: sure, I do Instagram and Uber. Keeping things fresh: I’ve taken up golf. Keeping in touch with the community: I teach mindfulness to kids. Keeping up with technology: Smartphone thumb typing has finally become automatic but give me the human cashier over the glitch-ridden, self-service checkout at our CVS every time.
Above all, my grandchildren are a revelation. All the clichés are true, especially their knack for keeping one young. Their little voices, their sweet giggles, the way they run-walk everywhere. My Cora and Cole, born three days apart, are both almost 21 months old now and our daughters are expecting again, one this month and one in the fall.
The grandkids have gotten under my skin in a way that offsets all the wrinkles and the biceps tendonitis I got from picking them up so much. Life is amazing when the focus is on love and fun, rather than on discipline and schedules. Saying “yes” beats saying “no.” Who else is going to be so excited to see you that they run towards you with open arms and big smiles calling out “Mama, Mama,” the same moniker my kids gave to my mom.
It’s a profound gift to observe our daughters as amazing mothers and our son as the fun-loving uncle, but I’ve missed the days when I could take them to Mother Goose at the library. Cora and Cole, on the other hand, are eager fans of my storybook voices, my rendition of “Supercalafrajalisticexpealidocious,” and my drawings of cats and flowers (as anemic a repertoire as it is).
They’ve even managed to reawaken my senses. What a pleasure it is introducing them to the world around us, from seeing geese fly for the first time and getting their first whiff of a hyacinth to dancing to “The Nutcracker” and lapping up their first taste of Cuban black beans.
Grandmotherhood makes 60 feel like the new 35. Happy Grandmother’s Day to all.