Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Old-Lady Tits

I’ve been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately, after my mom and I went to visit her in the nursing home last month. At first she was completely opposed to the idea of a nursing home, but my grandmother surprised my mom and I by telling us that she’s happier now than she has been in years. In the evening (and by evening I mean starting at 2:30pm), she tells us, “We all sit outside in the hallway and get to laughing so hard that we just can’t breathe.” And I start to think about how similar that is to my friends and I sitting on my front porch with a few beers. Perhaps my grandmother and I are more alike than I had thought.

Even though she’s happy, she laments for her youth. She has told me over and again that getting as old as she is sucks. She isn’t suppose to walk without her walker, but she hates using it. Sometimes she sneaks and doesn’t use it, but she knows full well she could land in the hospital again if she falls. She has a cataract in one eye, but they won’t operate because they’re afraid she won’t come out from under anesthesia. Other than that, she’s “still kicking” as she puts it, and she’s actually very healthy for someone who is 91 years old. The part that sucks, she says is that she doesn’t feel 91, yet she’s stuck in this body that simply doesn’t work anymore, and knowing that conundrum scares the shit out of me.

As I’ve watched both my grandmother and my mom age (my mom’s in her 60s), I’ve realized that for all their troubles they have had something I won’t have – the support of their kids.

I came to the realization maybe 10 years ago that I don’t think I want to have kids. For many people, this is the most horrible thing that can come out of a person’s mouth, but it’s the truth. And I’ve had the presence of mind to realize that if 10 years later I still don’t have any interest or desire to have a child, then I shouldn’t do it just for the hell of it. It simply hasn’t ever fit into my lifestyle, and I doubt it ever will (at least within the time I’m still fertile).

Although I can’t ever see myself having children, for some reason I always see myself as an old lady with children who care for me like I see my mom do for her mom. I think I think this way because I don’t know any different. I don’t know any elderly people who don’t have children – I’ve never come into contact with anyone that fits this description. I wonder what it will be like. Will I be able to advocate for myself? What if I won’t be able to? Who will?

My grandmother had 4 children and raised a grandchild as her own. And by the time she was my age she was in the thick of it. She asked me last time I saw her when I was going to get married.

“Never,” I replied.

She didn’t push any further and actually accepted my answer, but I knew she must have been confused by it.

Sometimes I think we’re alike, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I think the ways I think we’re alike are simply part of the human experience, and one day if any one of us lives to be 91, we may also feel trapped in a body that no longer works, frustrated by being old.

My mom’s always concerned with my grandmother’s appearance (and mine too…), and so before we left visiting my grandmother, my mom had to make sure her collared shirt under her sweatshirt was fixed just so. My grandmother, like a child, snatches her shirt away from my mom, and in doing so flashes us her old-lady tits. Down to the knees may be an exaggeration, but down to the waist is certainly not. I don’t understand why my grandmother has always been opposed to wearing a bra – I can’t ever remember her wearing one. And she isn’t a small-chested lady. If you’ve ever met me, I can paint an accurate picture in telling you that I take after my grandmother in the boob department.

“Put that down, Mom!” my mom giggles. “Tara doesn’t want to see that!”

The truth is that I already have, for my entire life. I always wondered why my boobs looked so much unlike my moms. She must have taken after her father’s side, because looking at my grandmother’s tits was like looking in a mirror – a funhouse mirror that stretches and warps things to the extreme, but a mirror nonetheless. My grandmother thought it was funny – maybe because she’s old and doesn’t care or maybe because she has a warped sense of humor.

Okay, so maybe we are alike after all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved this!!! Thanks for the smiles. I too, will be alone one day and am 53 but maybe we won't make it to 91 too. My niece turned me onto your blog and I laugh, smile and have cried each time I read you. You are a creative writer....keep the stories flowing. Could there be a tv pilot with john waters - you two would make a great creative package. I look foward to more of your adventures. A new fan, Gaynele