Monday, October 27, 2014

Blurred Lines-Gammie's Version

I reference a current song title here, though I think, but I'm not certain, this post is completely unrelated to the song. I'm talking about a cultural phenomenon, one I find puzzling if not deeply disturbing.

So, we've established that I am "slightly" beyond what is considered middle age. Anne Morrow Lindburgh labeled this time of life, "the youth of my old age." Youth, I like that! It is really something the first time you can recall your mother at your current age---but wasn't she old?! But hold on, wait until you can recall your GRANDmother at your current age. WHAT? Seriously, she was old!

And, then, all of those things you noticed about "old' people start happening to your once, young, and far less flawed, though you thought you were flawed back then-just wait-body! If you're a woman of a certain age, you know what I'm talking about. "Features" of your person that were once firm, neatly stretched over your frame and perky, well, not so much. Veins that once hid from view now form squishy blue hills on top of your once smooth hands. Your face begins to resemble a road map, lines deeply etched revealing much about the life you've lived to date. Toes begin to gnarl ever so slightly. The fear of the "old age" of old age becomes ever more real-you know where this is going. You've seen it before and now, you're living it. The good news is, you are LIVING it---could be worse! I keep telling myself that. No matter how old I think I look now, my daughter reminds me, 10 years from now, I'll look back and marvel at how I looked in 2014!

I tell you, somewhat modestly, I am not as "old" as my grandmother was when she was my age. However, both of my grandmothers looked younger, in my eyes, than their contemporaries.  And my mother's fashion choices, no doubt dictated by the decade of her 60's were, shall we say, aging. So, part of this illusion of my youth (I like to think I'm just cresting 50* though we all know better) is due to the blurred lines of fashion! (Finally, she's getting to the heart of the matter!)

My wardrobe is not terribly different than the wardrobes of my daughters who are, by anyone's standards, still young. Naturally, I do have some apparel that is too mature for them, too conservative, but nothing (correct me if I'm wrong, kids) that screams, Gammie (except the shoes-yes, it's the shoes---You WILL understand when your toes begin to gnarl and your back aches and your knees hurt...) This blurring of lines sort of works for me though I fear I may carry it too far, for too long. I hope my children will do me a favor and say, "Uh, Mom, time to move on."

I am "Gammie" now, a grandmother! How did this happen? My kids were little just...alright, alright, it's been a while. I relish this new role and am just sad that I don't live around the corner or just downstairs...instead of hundreds of miles away from this precious little munchkin. It is after spending some concentrated quality time with her that I realize, this old gal "ain't what she used to be"!  I marvel at what I used to do. I've lived long enough now to appreciate who I once was-that's a gift because, sadly, I didn't think much about it back then, let alone appreciate it. My 5 kids were born in a span of seven years, the youngest twins. When the twins were five, my oldest 13, I found myself a single parent, and while I was blessed to have my parents close by, I was raising them by myself...but I digress (I do that a lot-you will, too, someday!)

"Well, anyway..." (my mother's famous turn of phrase I'm now adopting as my own), as a Gammie, I am once, again, seriously involved in the world of children's apparel. Baby clothes-Lord, they're cute! Here's the troubling thing...just since my children were small, there has been a huge shift in apparel for little girls, I mean HUGE! Who, is responsible for this, and why do folks support this industry?! My "Little Kiddle" (cute little collectible dolls from my childhood, and what I now use as a tag line for small, adorable children) is two and has outgrown baby clothes. She's tall-gasp- I know. Who would think it since Gammie is (once was) 5'11"-though her Momma is the shortest of my girls measuring a mere 5'8"?  She's thin-kind of a genetic thing, too. She wears a 3T.

Now, I love to buy her clothes. My preference would be little smocked dresses, pinafores, and overalls, but Momma is a modern Boston Mom, and the smocked dresses and pinafores are, I guess, in today's world, a Southern thing (this Momma/Gammie loves Southern style!) She reminds me that they are indeed, impractical and ill suited to my granddaughter's lifestyle, and I try (mind you, TRY) not to impose my will on them.  So, I compromise. We both love OshKosh, not the stuff with Toile or sparkles, but bordering on traditional-a throw back to my children's youth. Thank goodness for Hannah Anderson, (we do, after all, have Scandinavian roots) though, for goodness sakes, why does good taste have to demand a high price tag?! So, Hannah, we limit ourselves to an outfit or two a season, and only when a sale rolls around. Carter's actually tries to cover all audiences-moderate prices with frequent, super sales, cute clothes of the play clothes, functional variety in addition to some garish, loud, but not yet vampy, clothes.

Fortunately, my daughter has good taste (naturally, right?) so she does not like miniature, seductive, teenager clothing. It gets harder and harder to find little girl's clothing that doesn't look like revealing, over-the-top, teenage apparel. Who thinks this is a good idea?! Really!!! Talk about blurred lines. Our girls, as young as two, are being sexualized by the fashion industry, and hey, folks, they couldn't do it if we didn't support it, at least not for long.

A two year old is not a small teenager. A teenager is not a (hmmm, politically correct term here---thinking, thinking...) vamp (definition 2) or shouldn't be encouraged to be one (showing my age, am I ?!) Why aren't all the women who fought so hard to overcome stereotypes in an uproar over this? (Oh, and while we're on the subject female warriors-what's up with stilettos? Really?!) Why are parents surprised when their young children are involved in clearly not age-appropriate behavior? How is this cute?

I think we need to get out the permanent markers and draw a few lines-oh, and wait until they dry so they do not blur. No, it certainly won't solve the world's troubles, but children are not tiny teens and teens are not adults, and old women aren't young women (we'll draw that line in pencil---so we can move it!)

*Author's note.

  • You can trust folks over the age of 30, at least some of them. I'm pretty sure, however that politicians are not to be trusted at ANY age.
  • Be skeptical of those under 30. They have absolutely no clue and many of them, once they hit about 26 will admit that.
  • 40 is young in today's world-actually, one of my favorite decades, the reason I opted to remain in my 40's just adding years of experience to my resume. At one time, most folks were finished with child rearing at 40. Now a days, many are just starting. (P.S. Good luck at 60!)
  • 50 is NOT old're just coming into your own.
  • 60s-not much experience here, yet. I'll keep you posted


  1. Oh Ann, I love this post. Having dipped a bit into the 60's here, it's not so old either.

  2. Fantastic. I read this and thought, been there, done that - no wait been there, doing some of that.

    Miss E is only 8 and already very definite about her clothes, many of which are hand-me-downs from a friend whose mother has indulged and while my DD is appreciative of the cost saving, she has to monitor what items actually get worn out of the house. Blame most of it on the media hype surrounding young pop stars and the manufacturers who want to cash in on that hype.

    And to top it all off, Miss E. has been known on more than one occasion to say "Grandma, that's because your OLD".) when I tell her and her brother that we need to play the board game at the table or we need to go a bit slower on our walk to the park or even that it would be nice if they could just go play by themselves for five minutes so I can have some quiet time - they have me pegged.

    Thanks for this fun read - now off to take my old, aching body into TO to visit a crafting friend.


  3. Wow, now I am really sad. :( All of this happened to me so long ago. Why does my brain feel so young and my body so old?

  4. Well said, you made me giggle at many of your comments as I to have felt that same way. Being out of the kiddie stage for quiet a while now and beginning into the mother in law stage I hear that was in your day or your just old fashion. I often wonder what happen to those values that our generation once had and tried to pass those same values on. Society sure has brought out the fashion and socialization that focuses on so much more then it did "back in the old days"!

  5. Haha I love this post! I need to share it with my mom. Luckily her one grandchild is a boy, there are way fewer options there ;)


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