Grandma Betty: Why 'Cute' Can't Capture It -
Lately, some language has been getting under my skin. I cringe when people use “cute” and “adorable” to describe older adults. So when I heard about Grandma Betty a few weeks ago, I was immediately drawn to all the “so cute!” comments. Ugh. “Does this bother you, too?!” I asked a Scripps professor in the hallway. “Not really,” he said with a shrug. Hmm. I figured he’d agree. At any rate, it bugs me as an advocate for older generations, so I decided to get on my AARP soapbox and have my say. What do you think? Cut the “cute” or keep it?
It’s like being in college together. — One of my writing workshop participants this semester, taking the course with her husband. She never thought of him as the “literary type.” Suddenly, he’s crafting memoirs, letters, poems and third-person narratives full of plot twists and rich, sensory description. Suddenly, perhaps, he’s that cute, smart kid sitting next to her in class.
Tight squeeze. February 2014, Florida.
Our little Ivy sure is growing. Here she is with her Dibi last week. Yep, a new Dibi! We’ll see if Ivy, once she’s talking, has another name in mind. But until then, we will use Dibi, the name my sister invented for “Grammy.” Kinda fits, right?
The Power of Pause: Taking Time to Visit Seniors -
The title of my February AARP post seems a little “well, duh” to me — and I wrote it. Of course people should take time to visit one another, especially potentially-isolated older adults. But what I’m really saying this month is that we should take our time when we take time.
In the post, I mention my stepmom Beth, and I should have mentioned my dad, too. They’re both fixtures in the nursing home community where Beth’s mom Dorothy lives, where my granddad once did, too. Beth and my dad, they don’t rush in then rush out. They sit and talk and listen to the singers performing after supper. When it’s over, they might head home, or they might wheel residents (friends, they’d call them now) back to their rooms. And of course they know where everyone lives. They’ve taken the time to find out.
He’s smiling on the inside. February 2014, Illinois.
My boyfriend’s grandpa turns 90 this summer — and he’s busier than we are. Unless the snow really piles up, he’s visiting friends or going to church or having broasted chicken at The Loft, the place in their small farming community. He served us breakfast when we stayed at his house a few weeks ago. I tried to clear the table.
"Oh don’t do that," he said, taking the coffee mugs. "That’s my job."
Everyone ages differently, in their own way and time. Not everyone is as fortunate as Joe’s grandpa, to be healthy enough and secure enough to live on their own. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could support all the grandpas who wanted to?
Why Oscar Nominee ‘Nebraska’ Already Won -
If you haven’t seen Nebraska, do. My mom and I had to regroup in the bathroom afterwards, but it was 100 percent worth it. More feelings (lots of feelings!) in my January post for AARP: “Nebraska shows us that going along with the fantasy can bring dignity and joy—and, in some cases, perhaps even moments of closure.”