Sunday, November 11, 2007

Are you the Grandmother?

So I was asked the other day, "Are you the grandmother?" I had taken Liam to convenient care for a nasty cough and fever. The doctor, trying to open Liam's mouth to observe his throat, asked, "Are you the grandmother?" I looked right into his eyes and, in that nano-second, struggled for a reply. Should I say something caustic and mean or innocently answer him honestly. I went for the latter. But all day I've been thinking, "I've got to come up with a clever quip for this question!"

This wasn't the first time I've been asked if Liam was my grandson. About two years ago I was at Walmart with Liam and Aidan. At the check-out the clerk said, "Oh, is it grandparent day?"
"Uh, no, these are my kids."
I really wanted to say something more clever, more witty, more cutting, but nothing came to mind in those brief five seconds of interaction. And yet, the encounter plagued me, so much so I can re-described it in great detail to this very day.

And that wasn't the first time I'd been asked if I was the grandma!

No, just like my Walmart scene I can recall the first time with clarity and detail. This was eight years ago. Yes! EIGHT YEARS AGO! Now, to be honest I was going through a stage of not coloring my hair. You see, I'm going gray. Okay, I've gone gray and I'm just so unaware how completely gray I've gone because I haven't seen my true hair color for about ten years. Back to the story...I was reconsidering hiding my gray and going natural. It had probably been 2-3 months since the last dye job, so roots were showing. I was at a yard sale picking up children's clothes for the kids. The woman running the sale asked, "Are these for your grand-kids?"
"Uh, no, my kids!"
She stammered and stuttered and apologetically said, "Oh, well, um, I, great! On the way home, needless to say, I shopped for hair coloring.

The culture I'm living in (small, rural town) it's quite normal to know grandmothers who are my age. . Heck, there are grandmothers who are 10 years younger than myself.

So, I expect I will face this question again and again. Now, anticipating such queries, how should I respond? Can you think of something clever I can store in the back of my mind and pull out whenever I'm asked, "Are you the grandmother?"


Donna Boucher said...

Hi Barb,

I came over to say 'hi' and I liked your comment very much over at Two Edge Talk. You are very wise.

AND I have been asked once and it has been implied that I am my seven year old's grandma.

I am 50 this year...I had Katie when I was 42.

She is my fourth.
My caboose.
My beloved :o)

Paul Merrill said...

"The culture I'm living in (small, rural town) it's quite normal to know grandmothers who are my age. . Heck, there are grandmothers who are 10 years younger than myself."

That says it all, Barb.

I'm old enough to be the grandpa of my 6-yr-old, too. Sigh.

The wisdom that comes with age is better than the youth that our culture idolizes so much. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Marti said...

Does it happen to Dave as well? Is he mistaken for the kids' grandfather?

regressivepresby said...

Nah.. people just think the wife robbed the cradle...

I Was Just Thinking.... said...

Thanks donna for stopping by. I enjoy your blog, love the pictures. You have quite a talent. Don't you love twoedge talk? I don't always listen on mondays, but during the week they get me thinking in the direction I SHOULD be headed.
I had my fourth when I was almost (2 months away) 44.

Paul - I like your idea - wisdom+aging.

Marti - ya gotta wonder why Dave never gets asked that question, doncha!?

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness it isn't just me! This morning at the grocery, the bagman nodded toward the twins and said, "Your grandchildren?" Ilike to believe that people feel as awkward after asking such an inpertinent question, as I could possibly feel answering it.


Julie said...

How about: 'No, but I was looking for their grandma. Have you seen her?"