When I was a kid, grandmas were sweet, little old ladies.
I am blessed to have known both of my grandmothers. Grandma A, who weighed about 75lbs soaking wet, was the most wonderful, affirming, lovely lady I have ever known. her house always smelled of fresh coffee, Dove soap and bran flakes. There was always a rosary and a prayer book on her bedside table, and in the evenings she could be found enjoying a martini and a few cheese nip crackers.
Grandma C was more robust. She would clean our kitchen while complaining about what slobs we were. She drank beer from a can & used to threaten to beat my cousins with "a board with a nail in it". When we were sick, she'd make us drink 7-up and hot toddies with honey, lemon & whisky. She watched Family Feud every day, but would never admit it. Her house always smelled of Dove soap, Youth Dew cologne and laundry soap.
Both grandmas had beautiful white hair, "done" each week & held in place by a hairnet made of fibers finer than cobwebs. They each had bright blue eyes and wore lipstick and face powder. They lunched with friends every week, and they had handbags to match all of their shoes.
They bragged about their grand kids, although they would never admit it.
They were grandmas.
My own mother and mother-in-law are more modern than my own grandmas -- mom's house smells like Benson & Hedges, coffee and pot pourri. Toshi's house has a more Asian smell - moth balls, seaweed and talcum powder. Both Mom & Toshi have pretty white hair, but they don't bother with hairnets. They each wear stylish casual clothes. Mom gets online and writes freelance articles. Toshi does freelance bookkeeping. Both volunteer at their churches 30+ hours per week. Both brag about their grand kids -- and make fun of themselves for doing so.
They are grandmas.
I want to be like them someday.
Someday, as in 2036. Not today.
I am 44. I had my children a little later in life: my first child was born when I was 35, my last when I was 42. I don't look like a grandma (I don't think). My hair is not a pretty white color, it's a fabulous, expensive red. I don't have many wrinkles despite years of sun damage. (A gift of fat? nice, smooth skin) I never use Dove soap.
So when I take my littles to the grocery store, and the checkout girl tells me my grand kids are cute, I get a little. . . .I dunno.
When it's my husband -- who has salty salt & pepper hair -- I get it. He has WHITE hair for chrissakes. It's an honest mistake. But me????
I have friends who are grandmas that don't come close to the little-old-lady model that I grew up with. One of my friends still gets hit on. She's in her 50's, but she looks like she's 40. Another of my friends had her son young, and now, at 42, she is a grandma. Grandma Diva, she calls herself. She's beautiful. I bet when she takes her grandson to the grocery store, the checkout girl tells her her baby is cute.
So maybe it's not so bad to be confused for grandma.
Then why does it make me feel like I should be buying hairnets?