“Is she a Grandma’s girl?”
It happened, yesterday, for the first time in almost 17 months … and not just once, but twice …
Every media interview I’ve done since Hope was born has at some point involved the question, “have you ever been mistaken for her grandmother?”, I’ve always smiled and said no .. I mean I look nothing like my mother (actually that’s a lie everyone says we’re very similar) … I’ve shaken my head and said, “nope, not once”.
I can’t do that any more … yesterday I had to go to a meeting so I put my smart clothes (for me) on and as Springsteen would say, “fixed my hair up pretty” (well, brushed it), and put a little make up on. After the meeting (which Hope came to as well) I decided to walk down into Cambridge with her in her push chair. I was tired, she’s had another run in with the teething monster and has a bit of a grumbly restless night so I had been woken a few times and that after a late to bed catching up on paperwork … so, yes, I was tired, but as I pottered down the hill, the sun out the sky totally blue I was in a very cheery mood and Hope was waving at passers by in one of her best summer dresses.
I stopped to buy an ice cream (pistachio) for us to share and sat on a bench outside a church in the sunshine … a nice lady sat beside us and started waving at Hope and then asked how old she was and then smiled at me and asked if I was enjoying being a grandmother … or something along those lines … I was stunned into silence, a rare happening, and then just started randomly burbling about my daughter at which point the lady opened a carrier bag and offered me a slosh of whisky to celebrate such a beautiful child. I said I couldn’t possibly as I was still breastfeeding and then the lady obviously realised what she’d said and had a large slurp of whisky herself.
I wandered off with Hope waving cheerfully and ice creamily at the lady who by now was downing the next very large slurp and foraging in her carrier bag … I put her confusion as to how someone so young looking could be a grandmother down to the whisky intake and headed into town. I felt a little self conscious then and kept looking at my reflection in shop windows.
By the time I got to Boots I was feeling back to normal, Hope was singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to herself and the sun had made everyone in the street very cheerful … I lugged the pushchair up the stairs and asked an elegantly made up saleswoman if she knew where the Baby sunscreen was. Hope at that point started saying ,”hallo” (she doesn’t say hello she says hallo) so the lady dropped to her knees and started talking to her. She then looked up and said, “isn’t she gorgeous, just like mine … and a real Grandma’s girl … my granddaughter is just like you all cheerful and chatty”, she looked back at Hope looked at me and said, “Is she a Grandma’s girl?” … “oh yes I replied”, thinking she was talking about my mother, “she and her Granby are a gang, they get along wonderfully”… “oh”, said the lady looking down at Hope and standing up at the same time, “you’re a Mummy’s girl are you” … she then proceeded to tell me that someone had come in earlier and had been a mother at 15 and was a grandmother at 32 … it didn’t make me feel any better!! We then had a chat about sunscreen and the chemicals in it and smiled and headed to our various different directions in the shop.
So … it’s all relative I guess (relative – ha! – sorry), a mother at 15 and a grandmother at 32 … by the time that lady is in her late 40s she might be a great grandmother … we’re all different … age doesn’t make you any less of a parent … I am utterly convinced I’m a better parent now than I would have been in my 20s or 30s let alone in my teens … but that’s just me!
I stopped at the make up counter and peered into the mirror … I don’t look 25 but do I really look 49 (yes I’ve had a birthday since my last post) … I don’t think so, but the whisky lady and the Boots assistant obviously thought I looked like a grandmother in comparison to Hope’s flawless youthful face. Did I mind? No not really, but just a little bit … in a good way, it’s made me make a hair appointment (there were a few grey hairs poking through) and my eyebrows do need mowing again so made a threading appointment too …
Ultimately, I am who I am and I am an older mother … and that is a wonderful miraculous thing to be… and I guess twice (on the same day) in 17 months really isn’t too bad!
I did look tired and my eyeliner was a bit smudged and perhaps I won’t go out in that outfit again … maybe it made me look too grown up!!
Today I’m in shorts and a t shirt with no make up on and my hair pulled back and fastened with a bit of a stick I found on the gravel outside. I had to pop to the shop earlier and someone said, “Isn’t your daughter lovely” … so there in lies the lesson … looking smart and grown up ages you … looking care free and un made up makes you look younger!!