Here’s the deal. Whenever you need a reality check, the universe is MORE than happy to provide you with one.
I was reminded of this fact last week when I took our 2-year-old granddaughter to Story Hour at the downtown Salt Lake library.
Before I go on, may I take a moment to give staff members at the library a big shoutout for all the Story Hour magic they make? They’re awesome, which is why you should grab your kids and go! I promise you will not be disappointed.
Anyway. While I was sitting on the carpet with the granddaughter on my lap, surrounded by mothers holding toddlers, I wondered if maybe — you know — I could still pass as one of them. Clearly no one would think I was a young mother. Ha! Are you kidding me? I’m not that delusional. But maybe people would think I was an older mother — like, from New York City or something.
When we lived in New York I knew lots of women who waited until their late 30s to start families. It wasn’t that unusual. In fact, I was the weird one with five kids already, including a teenager. The women I knew had graduated from college, built big careers and then did the baby thing — in that order.
So maybe the young mothers at the library would think that was my story. I was a late bloomer on the motherhood front. It’s possible, right?
The minute Story Hour was over, one of the young mothers turned to me and asked how old my granddaughter was. Obviously I didn’t fool her. Or anybody else. Not for a single second.
See what I mean about the universe providing us with reality checks? Hey, thanks for that, Universe!
Since then I’ve wondered why I thought anybody in her right mind would have mistaken me for the mother of a toddler instead of a grandmother. I have more than my fair share of besetting sins, but vanity about my appearance really isn’t one of them. I never ever look at myself in the mirror and think, “Well, hot damn, don’t I look half my age today!”
I may not love my crow’s-feet, but I don’t have a problem owning them.
So what came over me?
This: When my granddaughter sat on my lap, eager to watch the “spider puppet” scare the “Little Miss Muffet puppet,” two dozen years melted instantly away. And there I was at the library all over again with that baby girl’s father, wondering what the immediate future would bring.
Would my little boy be happy in preschool? Make friends there? Learn his colors, his letters, his numbers? Would he behave himself? Chances were good that he wouldn’t, so what then? Would his teachers cut him some slack? Or would they kick him to the curb? Would that make my son a preschool dropout? And what happens to preschool dropouts anyway? Oy! So many things to worry about!
Bottom line: Would my son survive his childhood? Would I?
The answer is yes. He did. And I did, too.
Meanwhile, our lives have gone on. My son learned his colors, his letters, his numbers and also how to behave himself, which he does these days. Most of the time, anyway. He’s older now. And so am I. Obviously.
But still. Sometimes there are surprising moments when the past feels like it’s just around the corner.
And only five minutes away.
Ann Cannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/anncannontrib.