31

Age: It’s All (Your) Relative

When I spoke with my son a few days before his 45th birthday last week, he seemed somewhat bummed out by the prospect of his advancing age. 

I tried to reassure him that, from my perspective of 63 (soon to be 64), he was a young whippersnapper.  To me, 45 is still youthful. 

I don’t think I convinced him.

Two days ago my husband had his 75th birthday.  He’s not big on celebrating his natal day either.  He discourages any big show of gifts and he suggested that everyone just ignore that date on the calendar. 

He felt it should be skipped over for lack of interest—his. 

But I couldn’t do that, of course, so I got him a funny card from me and the cats, and our daughter here in town got him three packages of his favorite treat this time of year—Easter Peeps.  (Those things make my teeth hurt just looking at them.  Everyone knows chocolate is the only real candy, folks.)

In an odd juxtaposition with my telling my son he’s still (relatively) young, my husband’s 92 year-old mother phoned to wish her first born son a happy 75th. 

Now, that has to be a weird feeling for her.  How many mothers live long enough (and have their children young enough) to be able to wish them that? 

Not many, I’d wager.

Last night on an episode of Roseanne,” her mother, Beverly, is considering moving to a retirement condo.  She’s 63. 

Jackie is all for it because it will get their mother out of their hair, but Roseanne is oddly reluctant.  The condo is set up for older residents, with a medical alert button on a wall in every room and the option of moving to an adjacent nursing home should the need arise.

Roseanne tells Jackie that it makes her really uncomfortable to consider their mother’s death.

Jackie:  “Come on, Roseanne!  We’ve been planning her death for years!” 

Roseanne:  “That’s plotting, Jackie, not planning.”

Beverly has her way and moves into the condo without Roseanne’s blessing.  But Roseanne drops by with a housewarming gift and the two have a chat. 

Roseanne asks her mother how old she feels inside, since she and Jackie had that conversation earlier. 

(Roseanne had said she feels like she’s still sixteen.  Jackie started to say “Twenty-…” and then amends that to “Twelve—or maybe eight.”) 

Beverly is perplexed:  “I feel like I’m 63.  I feel like a 63 year-old woman.”

After a bit more discussion about the retirement condo and the looming nursing home, Beverly hugs Roseanne and tells her not to worry. 

Beverly:  “I may be 63, but I don’t feel like I’m old.”

Roseanne:  “Yes, you are.   And you’re draggin’ me with you.”