Staying relevant is important to me. However, lately it has become a bit more challenging.
My footprints are evident in three generations. I mosey in my senior citizen status. As a mother, I stroll in and out of my children’s lives. And as Mimi, I tip-toe in my grandchildren’s world.
Seventy years of sand has sifted through my hour glass. I recognize that the quantity of grains in the upper bulb is less than that in the lower bulb.
Interacting with my contemporaries is a comfortable space for me. When I am among friends and family members of a similar vintage, we speak the same language about our past histories. We reminisce about high school and college days and marvel that we made it through the sixties and seventies unscathed. We are collectively glad that there were no cell phones to document our misadventures. There is no social media evidence of the questionable choices we made when we were young. Our past is safe in the vault. And at least for now, in our minds.
My adult children invite me to stay connected to their generation. They share details of their busy work lives and long days. I listened to my daughter recount with horror an experience after her dog Lilo ate a dead frog on a walk around the neighborhood. Samantha had to Google the impact of the ingestion of said amphibian to avoid an emergency trip to the vet. Fortunately, the black Lab’s excessive spontaneous vomiting solved the problem.
When my son Rick’s young daughter Emmy gave permission to her slightly older brother Will for an at-home haircut while their parents were downstairs hanging a light fixture, I howled when he sent a picture of the results. Rick’s wife Toni made a valiant effort to mitigate the effects of the mange-like appearance of their beautiful daughter.
I visit, attend school concerts and plays, cheer the kids on at sporting events, and observe the frenzy of family activities without being in charge. And then, I go home. I am grateful for the exposure and the opportunity to stay involved in their lives.
The best connection with my son and daughter is our cherished family history. When I look into their forty plus eyes, I still see happy siblings playing foxtail in our backyard. I can envision their father bathing them upstairs after dinner. Every night he sang the intro song to the television show Rawhide at the top of his lungs as water splashed on the floor. Meanwhile, in the kitchen below, I put the supper dishes in the dishwasher and enjoyed the concert. Those memories are vivid. The love is still warm.
Grandchildren have given me another opportunity to stay relevant. At first, my connection to our family’s third generation was easy. My body never forgot how to sway back and forth to soothe an infant’s cries. Tiny toes and fingers still fit perfectly in my hands.
As time progressed, I attended pre-school programs, played Old Maid, War, and Go Fish. At Thanksgiving I showed my oldest granddaughter Charley how to make a perfect pumpkin pie from a can of Libby’s pumpkin pulp. During Christmastime, I brought out my assorted cookie cutters and tiny bottles of seasonal decorations. I watched as my grandkids’ tiny hands created sweet morsels with more decorations than cookie. The kitchen brimmed with sweet smells and giggles. Sticky finger prints dotted the center island counter.
Time is a brisk wind, for each hour it brings something new. (Paracelsus)
Well, I feel like I am in the middle of a hurricane. Who stepped on the accelerator and why? The world seems to be spinning at a faster rate now and it is dizzying.
Fortunately, my soon-to-be fifteen-year-old grandson recently educated me about ChatGPT, the natural language processing tool driven by artificial intelligence technology. Max smiled broadly as he showed me how prompts could instantly provide content that I thought was only humanly possible. He was the teacher. I was the student. Although I am eager to learn so as not to be left behind, I wonder where all of these advances will lead. A part of me wants to throw sand in the gears of progress.
Yes, change can be unnerving. Staying relevant is a choice. I have chosen to advance as best as I can. Along the way, I have realized there is a special ingredient that can reduce the stress of staying relevant.
My AARP friends and family continue our love for each other and savor the good old days. We wish for continued good health for each other.
Shared vacations with my children and their families fills my heart with love. Their world is not really scary, just a little more complicated.
Pure love oozes from the warm hugs and kisses from my grandchildren This summer, they cheerfully invited me to join a beach whiffle ball game and wisely provided me with a designated base runner. My now teenage granddaughter Charley still occasionally holds my hand when we walk on the Boardwalk. I know I am loved.
So, I try not to let my mind focus on the fleeting hours and all of the changes that come with them. Instead, I prompt my heart to calibrate the love I feel as I continue staying relevant.