Thinking about aging made me think of my grandmothers. They were as opposite of each other as they could possibly be. My father's mother lived with us when I was growing up and she was 'straight off the boat' from Europe. She was a peasant woman who could not read or write in her own language, let alone in English. My father saw to it that she was taken very good care of until she passed away at the age of 74.
Now, my mother's mother, on the other hand, was one swingin' granny. She was a hard-working, strong-willed woman, extremely attractive and managed to have eight husbands in her lifetime. She spent the winters in Florida and made the trip driving her own car twice a year until she was well into her 80's. When I think back on things now.....I honestly don't know how she did it. She was an excellent cook, a beautiful seamstress and fastidious housekeeper. She was a woman's libber way before the term even existed. She never took a back seat to anyone. She lived hard and partied hard.....a regular bundle of energy. She survived diphtheria twice. She was a born leader and never panicked in the face of chaos. She lived to be 96. She was no pure angel, that one.....but I have to admire a lot of the things she did and I think about her often. So if you see an angel someday with a halo that's a bit tarnished....well, that could be her. She'll be the one bossing everyone around.
Know what I regret more than anything? I regret that I didn't ask her more questions about her life and how she felt about things. My mother told me a lot but I wish I would have had more talks with her. You just never think of it at the time. I have written down quite a bit about her and about my parents so my children will have it to refer to someday, because they never think to ask me about stuff either. You know the last question my child asked me in relation to how things were before they were born......I was asked, for a homework assignment, "how was it really during prohibition?". I snarkily answered..."I'm not THAT old....jeesh".
I remember granny got a handicapped placard when she was in her 80's because of a bad knee that gave her trouble. As I think back on it, it was the same knee that gives me trouble. Hmmmm. Keep smilin' and make everyone wonder what you've been up to.