A Wish To Be Younger

I’m not exactly sure how old my grandmother was when she passed away (80 something, I think) because, at some point in her later years, she decided to count her birthdays backwards.

Now, I know you can’t age backwards but I did lose track of her age.

She hated getting older. That much was evident. Whenever I asked what she wanted (like for her birthday), she’d say “my youth” in a begrudging tone like someone had stolen it from her.

She told me so many stories from her younger days; I wish I had written them down. She was a great storyteller and I credit her for inspiring that in me. (She also inspired in me a love of books,  travel and Broadway musicals.)

Our relationship wasn’t always a fairytale, though. The MomMom, as I called her, of my youth wasn’t the woman I got to know as a young adult. And I suppose I wasn’t the young spirit she had indulged with too many Barbies, either. We had a falling out when I graduated college that took me until September 11, 2001 to get over (funny how a tragedy will do that.) I’m grateful for the two years that followed – two years and a day – before she passed away on September 12, 2003.

When I mourned, it was for my MomMom and the memories we shared from my childhood. And that’s how I choose to remember her.

I was reminded of my grandmother when I read 29* by Adena Halpern. The book is about a woman who makes a wish on her 75th birthday to be 29 again, just for a day. And her wish is granted!

I wonder how many times my grandmother blew out her birthday candles wishing to be younger and what age she wanted to be.

What age would you wish to be again?

*As a member of the From Left to Write Book club, I received a copy of 29 for free. This post is not intended as a review and the ideas in this post are my own.

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  1. This is so true: “The MomMom, as I called her, of my youth wasn’t the woman I got to know as a young adult. And I suppose I wasn’t the young spirit she had indulged with too many Barbies, either.” Our perceptions of adored ones changes as we grow older. I’m so glad to hear you two found each other again before it was too late. Too many other regrets in life for that to have been one of them.

    Nice post.

    (Here via From Left to Write. I read the book, too. :o) )

  2. My grandmother lived to be 91, I believe, and she hated getting old, hated the thought of dying. Sadly, around her mid-70s she wasn’t able to think about it any more because she suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. Maybe in some ways it was a blessing for her, living in a time when she was younger.

  3. Wow, this post really hits home for me. I had a strained relationship with one of my grandmothers as well, but I was in Denver for her funeral on September 11, 2001. Luckily it never got to the point of us not speaking, but my cousin wasn’t speaking to her. And rather than turning the corner you did on that day to make amends, my cousin used it to estrange herself from each and every one of our family members over the course of the next few years. I’m so glad that you leaned on love and fond memories instead of bitterness.

  4. My grandmother isn’t comfortable enough speaking English for me to really get to know her. My other grandmother passed away almost 20 years ago. I’m just glad that I know that my girls are already so much closer to their grandmother than I ever was to mine.
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  5. It is difficult to grow older–to have diminished capacities, to watch things start to drift southward–and yet, I’d hate to be wishing my years away. My hope is that I grow older, the benefits of my years will outweigh my discomfort with a less youthful self.


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