Why yes, you can call me gramma if you want

Carlene M. Dean
12 min readJul 10, 2020
Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

“Hahaha, I’m not old enough to be a grandma!” said the pretty brunette 40-something-year-old woman, a businessperson in my neighborhood, when I asked her once whether any of her children had given her grandchildren. Immediately in my mind I thought, “Old?!?! What does that have to do with it? Having grandkids doesn’t make us ‘old’, it simply means our child(ren) are old enough to reproduce themselves as small creatures who will call you gramma.” I couldn’t help but wonder why it was that Patty (her name) thought grandparenthood equated with being “old.” Because I have known, and currently know, a lot of grandparents who are anything but “old.” They ride mountain bikes, travel, hike trails, go ziplining … stuff you generally wouldn’t have found “older” people doing maybe a generation ago. Then again, maybe they did for all I know but “they” weren’t in my family, as a number of my relatives tend to be couch potatoes.

And that’s when it hit me: that’s where the “old” comes in, the age bias thing. It’s the ridiculous ideas that “younger” people have of those of grandparent age can’t do this or do that because of our years, because we are “too old.” Bullshit. I love challenging people’s ideas of what it means to be a woman over 50 (as I am) and love reading articles (such as in AARP Magazine) of people even older than I who are rock climbing, motorcycling across the continent, and otherwise still fully participating in life and helping others as their abilities allow. I enjoy shattering people’s stereotypes of a person based on their age. I have female friends, all older than me, with whom I like to go dancing (“ladies night out”). We spend the evening shaking our middle-aged booty while people young enough to be our kids sit around drinking beer (how boring). One of my dancing friends is 67 and she rarely leaves the dance floor! Unfortunately I cant do that (damned hip anyway!!!) though I believe I get my share of movement on our nights out.

One recalls old movies and TV shows in which the older characters were retired and didn’t have a whole lot to do. Some of them were in the role of taking care of her family (like Aunt Bee on “Andy Griffith”) or the actors playing grandparents just basically sat around a lot and crocheted doilies or played the family grouch, dispensing sage wisdom in a gruff, gravelly voice to the youngsters…

Carlene M. Dean

Experienced professional writer/freelancer and former newspaper reporter-turned-online writer/blogger. Thinker. “Old soul”, young hippie, empath.