When I was a teenager and young adult, I always looked younger than my years. Don't know what it was, but people always thought I was younger than I was. They'd say, "Oh, you're lucky. The older you get, the happier you'll be to look younger!"
The trouble was, as I got older, somewhere along the line I must have started looking older. In fact, when I was 29 and taking care of some last-minute details for my wedding reception, the idiot security guard at the place asked me, "Are you the mother of the bride?"
"Um, I'm the BRIDE!" Gee, thanks for making me feel so attractive on my wedding day!
Fast-forward five years later to a shopping trip out with my second baby. She was about a week old, and I was probably looking pretty haggard as I piloted the stroller to the department store checkout and put the baby dresses up on the counter. The (extremely young) clerk smiled and said, "Oh, are these for your granddaughter?"
Yeah, right. Let's see, if I had a daughter at seventeen, and SHE had a daughter at seventeen, that would work out about right. I think I burst into tears at that point and shocked the clerk with "No!! they're for my DAUGHTER!! I just had a BABY! GOD!!"
Now that I'm getting to that age (45) where I could actually be a pretty young grandmother (while not a teenage-pregnancy-induced grandmother), I guess I shouldn't be so sensitive about it. I think I look pretty good. I could stand to lose a few pounds, and I'm starting to have an intimate understanding of why people get facelifts (though I don't ever really want to do that); but I try to dress to flatter my figure, I wear makeup, I have a cute haircut, and I still feel about 29 inside.
So it was kind of a shock when I went to one of those "passion parties" last year, you know, where you get together and have drinks with your girlfriends and then one of them starts demonstrating sex toys and accessories for everyone to buy. My friend Lisa talked me into going with her; I hadn't been out to do anything fun in a while, and was trying to get in the spirit of the thing while having drinks before the demonstration, when a neighbor of hers came up to me and said, "Oh, I just wanted to say hi! I've seen you at Lisa's before -- you're her mother-in-law, aren't you?"
Wow, I feel so sexy now. Let me whip out my credit-card and buy some lingerie for this hot grandmotherly body. "Um, NO! I'm her FRIEND. I am TWO YEARS older than Lisa!!! I am not old enough to be her mother-in-law!!!" She recoiled, obviously regretting her error; and after hearing my sob story, Lisa said to me, "Oh, she's young, and everyone knows she's kind of an airhead." But still. Gah.
It took me the rest of the year to get over that one. I look at myself and try to figure out what it is...maybe my posture. Maybe if I stand up straight, smile more, wear younger clothes, something...
But it's obviously not working. The other day I saw a classmate of my 10-year-old's at the grocery store. I smiled at him and he said "I know you!! You're Allie's grandma!"
"I'm Allie's MOM."
Huh. Well, maybe it's time to just embrace it. Because I think I look pretty damn good for a grandma!