There is a dear, sweet lady who went to our church who I wanted to tackle like the Rock goes after Jericho in WWE. She was about 4 foot 10 inches tall and weighed about as much as my largest dog. She was ancient in years and wise as an owl, but she was a little confused.
At the time, I was 38 years old, and I was beginning to feel my age a bit. My checkup that year at the doctor included the news that my blood pressure was elevated, I had a blood clot in my leg, and I had something called “metabolic syndrome.” I think the doctor was just trying to tell me I was fat, but apparently it has to do with pre-diabetes.
Anyway, I had always felt young and invincible. I considered myself “the sturdy girl” and could lift heavy things and was physically capable of quite a bit. Now, at 50, I had my “sturdy girl card” revoked when I smashed my finger a few years ago and passed out in a log loading incident that made my brother frantically dial 911 while he hovered over me in the backyard (but that’s a funny story for another time).
My behavior also reflected my youthful attitude. I was silly and liked to dance. I made weird faces and tended to be socially inappropriate. I still liked humor about poop and gross stuff. I would like to chalk it up to the fact that I surrounded myself with little people night and day, but in my heart, I know it was just immaturity. As I write all of this in the past tense, I have to admit that nothing has changed.
So imagine my surprise when this wonderful Christian woman approached me one Sunday as I cradled my newest niece (who was only a few weeks old) and asked, “How does it feel to be a grandma?”
I almost dropped the poor child in an attempt to control myself from alternately crying and wanting to hurt this lady.
After all, my own children were only 2 and 7 at the time. I was horrified that I looked that old. I certainly did not feel that old.
I got a later start in the department of motherhood than some, but I was not ancient. I suppose technically I could have been a grandma if I had been a child prodigy in the art of sexuality and had a child who followed close in my footsteps.
There were girls I had gone to high school with who were already rocking their grandchildren to sleep. I also know that there may have been some confusion over the fact that my mother-in-law at the time (who is the grandma to that child) is only 10 years older than I am, and is married to my ex-husband’s father who is also named John. They look similar, but are far apart in age.
When I thought about it, I realized that my initial shock came from the fact that it could be true. I was old enough to be a grandma. The possibility existed. It made me uncomfortable and made me squirm, because I knew it could be true.
How would I feel if someone asked me, “How does it feel to be a sinner?’’ I would experience that same kind of discomfort. I would know that even if I tried really hard not to be, the possibility always exists that I would sin or indulge in sin. I don’t like the way the question makes me feel.
So, from then on, whenever I saw this lady coming toward me, I put on a smile, stood up straight and tried really hard to look young. And every time, I resisted the urge to trip her as she passed.
Note to readers: Lori Boekeloo of Hennepin is a mother of three. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or friend her on Facebook for more humor and inspiration on a daily basis.