To be fair, my mom is definitely NOT a senior. She's only 57. Terry, now he's a little closer to seniordom (he's 65) and he's recognized by AARP, Social Security, and the general public as "an old guy," so I can safely call him a senior, albeit with slight tongue in cheek.
This all started when my mom was watching some TV show and someone said something about "seniors: people in their 50s and 60s." And woo, boy! Was she pissed! "I'm not a senior!" she emphatically laughed to us later that day. It all made me realize that no matter how old we are we're constantly trying to fit in to the newest phase of our life. Mom is definitely leaving middle age and it's been a rough transition for her.
Most recently, she and Terry went to a Joan Biaz concert. Mom came back dumbstruck by, "all the short-haired women there." I wondered if she was talking about lesbians (mom's been known to generalize in that area), but she wasn't. "No, they were my age," she stressed. I still wasn't getting it.
Mom explained that apparently, at a certain age typically later on in life, women cut their hair off. Like, almost all of it. And it horrified her that she might look like one of these "older women." She vowed then and there to grow her hair long and wear it in a bun for the rest of her life.
She said the concert was depressing over all. Joan looked ancient and stiff and the crowd was a huddle of old hippies with silver streaks in their hair. I'm not gonna judge her reaction; I actually feel immense empathy for her since I've been trying to fit into my own "new niche" for the past several years (that of a responsible wife - and now mother).
One thing that I think my mom really enjoys about her new position in our lives, though, is that of grandmother. And she wouldn't be able to enjoy it without all those wrinkles and grey hairs. I've never known grandparent love. I should capitalize that: Grandparent Love. I had grandparents that I loved and that dug me back, but I don't remember their faces lighting up at seeing me or my heart beating faster because I was going to get to spend time with them.
Hollis and Mom and Terry have this beautiful thing together. Hollis becomes ecstatic when he recognizes our drive to their house and he even gets excited whenever he sees a car pull up in front of our house or the doorbell rings. You practically see little hearts floating around in the air whenever they're together.
With Terry, Hollis can count on a boombox strategically placed at toddler-level loaded with either a) Swedish techno or b) polka music, and then a willing dance partner to snap and groove with. He looks for cookies in Papa's pocket and listens intently while his silver-haired buddy masacres Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on a shiny recorder just for his enjoyment. He can also always rely on Terry to repeat any fun thing over and over and over again with a kind of stamina only a grandparent can muster.
With Mom, Hollis gets Jim Carey-like faces, uncommon household objects as toys, and marathon bath times. He gets his hands massaged with lotion and his hair combed over like any respectable, shiny clean baby. He pats her face and she "eats" his arm and he giggles and squeals. He trusts her implicitly, somehow sensing she knows what she's doing even if she's putting him buckets and cabinets, on stacks of paper and dog beds, and putting metal bowls on his head just for her own enjoyment.
Not of my parents, but of Hollis. I'd heard about grandparent love, but until now I'd never really known what it looked like.
With 57 and 65 years behind them, Mom and Terry have a lifetime of experience to help them enjoy this new person in their family in a way they couldn't as front-line parents. That's the beauty of grandparent love: the wisdom to ENJOY what you've got. So if my mom's considered a "senior" I'm gonna call this "senior love" and I'm gonna look forward to it.
I'm also going to imprint on my brain the sheer joy these three people feel whenever they're together. For them, being together is the most precious, wonderful part of their day. It's good to feel that way and it's something to try to prioritize in my life. I want to always feel joy and excitement whenever I see someone I care about... to love like a senior.
Grandma strikes again: