I can pretty confidently say – and I know I’m not the only 30-something (how did that happen?!) to think this – that the worst thing about getting older is watching those around us age, too.
And I’m not talking about superficial things like wrinkles and gray hairs: nooo, for those we have botox (maybe) and hair dye (definitely). Though my hairdresser pleasingly refers to my many – I mean few – greys as my ‘sparkly bits’ (there’s a reason I don’t mind paying her the big bucks).
I mean the kind of aging that makes us think about our health and mortality. The kind of aging that makes us realise that people aren’t infallible and won’t be around forever. It’s a horrible kind of aging, a horrible kind of thought. I love everyone in my life and basically want them around forever, perhaps cryogenically frozen like Austin Powers.
I remember the days of my grannie getting older, and it’s quite jarring to see my own parents aging in the same way. My Nanna was a trooper: she lived alone in the town I am local to now until she died in her late 80s and went shopping to the town centre every day (if you have a similarly bloody minded older relative, a mobility scooter can give back freedom and independence to your loved one). She played bingo, she had friends in the complex where she lived, she even had a boyfriend called Bill who lived two doors down: I’d like to order the same convenience from whichever lucky man I decide to hang around with in my twilight years.
My other grandparents lived slightly further away in Leicestershire, and were just as active as Nanna. I remember playing on their stairlift with my brother until we got dizzy with the constant up-down-up-down-up-down. But my favourite thing about their home? The silver tea set they kept, inexplicably, in their spare bedroom. Hours of fun playing tea parties!
I often wonder what own children will remember from the times they spend with their grandparents – my parents. We’re lucky enough to see them a lot (they are the BEST source of childcare! And how lovely that they spend so much time together), so I’m confident my children will grow up with gorgeous memories of the lovely times they spend with their own Gargie and Papa.
Mum and dad have gone to great efforts to make sure their house is always friendly and exciting for Elfie and Hux: there’s a trampoline in the garden, a library of gorgeous books… they even have their own bedroom at their house. Let’s remember that I haven’t had my own bedroom at my parent’s house since 2003. Favouritism, much??!
They love to take the kids camping, too. Which suits me fine as I’m much more of a hotel person rather than a tent person! The children get the best of both worlds that way; the adventures they crave with two people that spoil them to bits and lovely times with their mum (ME! When they remember me!), too.
Yes, the aging process is a bit of a head spinner. I’ll keep investigating how to get cryogenically frozen, but until then I’ll just remember to spend as much time as I can with my favourite people.