LAURA SNYDER: Great-Grandma Status Gives Grandma Cred
My mother recently became a great-grandmother.
Just to be clear, this status did not come about because of anything my children did -- I'm not a grandma yet. But for my mother, her change of status is something to celebrate, and not just because there is a beautiful new baby to spoil.
The other reason to celebrate is because she is no longer just a grandma. The word "grandma" carries a silly stigma these days. "Grandma" is the subject of many jokes, but when you add "Great" to grandma, it gives this dearly-loved matriarch a bit more dignity.
How many times have you heard a joke about "grandma"? There are jokes about her bad eyesight, her dentures, and the fact that she can't see over the steering wheel when she's puttering along to bingo. It's so stereotypical. She doesn't deserve all this bad press.
In fact, my mom hasn't gone to bingo in at least three months. It's true that she can't see as well as she used to, and her remaining teeth are barely hanging in there, but is that anything to joke about?
Grandmas get a really bad rap. What about all those wonderful cookies grandmas bake? Wait a minute, that's probably stereotypical, too. My mom baked once a year at Christmas and hated every minute of it, even after she became a grandma 25 years ago.
I am secretly a little jealous of her great-grandma status, though. She gets to do things that we mere moms cannot. For example, she gets to wear white pants whenever she wants to. Do you know why grandmas wear white pants? Because they can! I haven't been able to wear white pants since my first child started eating solids. If I did wear them, by now they'd look like something out of a psychedelic nightmare.
Another thing I'm envious of is the fact that my mom can ignore the knowledge of any new technological wonder and get away with it because of her age. My utter bewilderment about anything with a circuit board and buttons is regarded with disdain by members of the Technologically Informed, of which my husband is a charter member.
My mother could suggest using squirrels on a hamster wheel for an alternative energy source, and she would merely get an indulgent smile. Hey, the Flintstones made it work, didn't they?
You want a new mass transit system that runs on something besides fossil fuels? Just built a monorail with a giant wheel and throw a couple of hundred squirrels in there. They're not doing anything but digging holes in our yards and frolicking on high tension wires anyway. Let's make them contribute to society!
OK, so that was my idea. But I didn't get an indulgent smile when I suggested it. I got a look that said, "We're going to have to start looking for long-term care for you, aren't we?"
My mom recently had a problem with her TV. It would randomly switch channels all by itself. She'd be watching a documentary on the migration pattern of the Sooty Albatross, and it would switch to "The Price Is Right." I was there once when it happened. She didn't seem to notice until I mentioned it, though. Ah, grandma-hood! She said she didn't know what caused it, but I decided not to mention it to my husband just in case the solution was something I was supposed to know.
A week later, she told me that her neighbor said she had the same problem. When my mom called the cable company, it was discovered that their remotes were on the same frequency and that they had been switching each other's channels for a month and a half.
When the cable guys finally came to fix the problem, she had just finished working out a TV viewing schedule with her neighbor and was a little miffed that they showed up so soon. She was enjoying getting to know her neighbor better. Her neighbor was clearly a grandma, too.
Contact Whispering Pines writer Laura Snyder at lsnyder@lauraonlife. com. Visit her Web site www.lauraonlife.com for more columns and info about her books.
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