One leisurely morning I was out for breakfast with my lively five foot tall, 83 year old mother and her first born granddaughter, my daughter Carrie Ann. We didn’t go anywhere fancy, just the Little Beaver in nearby Komoka, as the excursion was more about enjoying one another’s company than looking for an epicurean adventure. Lingering over our final cup of coffee there was a bit of a lull in the conversation. Suddenly, Mom lifted one of her feet and stuck it out next to the booth and said “Look at these silly old lady grandma shoes I’m wearing!” Carrie and I both laughed at the unexpected comment, and I told Mom that I had a pair just like them at home— simple, unadorned, white flat summer shoes. It dawned on me that inside her tiny aged body she was still 18 years old.
For a brief moment, during our laughter and jokes and conversations about the antics of her latest grand baby she had felt herself to be that fashion conscious young woman who wore white leather platform peep toe shoes on her wedding day. Or perhaps,at that moment, she was the mother of my childhood—my mother with the fuchsia lipstick— sitting on the edge of the kitchen table to be able to see herself better in the mirror, as she wound her hair tightly into little coils and pinned them against her scalp. My beautiful mother, who after baby number eight, still fit into a dress she wore while dating my father— a blue satin one she lovingly made over for me to wear on my first date, to a Junior Farmers’ dance at the local town hall.
Now, I am almost as old as my mother was on their 45th wedding anniversary, when she pulled out all the stops, in a stunning dress and sparkling high-heeled pumps, to the delight of my adoring father. Mom—the fashionable big-city girl from Pittsburgh, with the daughter in Dr. Scholls flip-flops! How old am I today, really? I guess it depends a lot on the company I keep. Gotta go! It’s time to call up my nieces and ask them to drop off the kids!