When Grandma Learned to Wobble

28 Oct

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
I know what you mean,” said the little old man.” 
― Shel Silverstein

I really do love seniors. My Pitt Pals laugh at me sometimes—whenever I pass an older person on the street or on the bus, I kind of melt a bit…like my heart all of a sudden weighs more than it should and my knees buckle because of it. There’s just something about a little old lady that gets to me. I feel like if anyone really has all the secrets of the universe, it’s going to be someone over 70, and I’ll learn the answers in the twinkle of their eyes. I just need to open mine, realizing there’s a treasure in front of me in those wrinkles and slow pace.

This month my grandma is turning 85. When she came to visit with my parents last weekend, she reminded me that I shouldn’t operate under the false perception that something as arbitrary as age builds an impenetrable wall between people. Grandma can have fun with the best of them, and when the pals and I jumped up to do the Wobble (which pretty much happens on a weekly basis with this crew), Grandma was dancing right along. My grandma is 4’7. If you were to see her on the street, you’d probably say in your head, “aww, what a cute old lady.” But don’t let her age or her stature let you write her off as “cute.” Take the time to know her before you size her up (that’s not a short joke, grandma, I promise).

Image

My grandma and I at my cousin’s wedding last summer 🙂

One of the services provided by Ursuline Senior Services (my placement site) is a Senior Reassurance call program. Basically this program pairs volunteers with senior clients for daily phone calls, ultimately to provide a friendly chat and a wellness check. I call two old ladies every morning. Every time I call the first lady, she’s reading a book. She likes to read historical fiction, and makes sure I know just how much she hates Henry VIII. My other lady, a 95 year old chatterbox, is the highlight of my morning. We talk about all sorts of things. She swears by oatmeal with peanut butter for a good hearty breakfast, and couldn’t wait to tell me when she broke the bank playing penny slots at the casino. I know I’m supposed to be calling her to check on her well-being, but I can promise that in reality Miss T helps me to be well.

Last week I attended a conference called Aging in Place. It was for professionals who serve older adults, to network and provide resources that could benefit the aging population at large. One of the speakers, a hilarious older woman, spoke about how she will never be grown up, but rather always growing up. The journey never ends. What’s that quote, we don’t stop playing because we grow old we grow old because we stop playing? I like that. Never stop playing.

It’s funny, I’ve spent most of this week feeling “grown up.” My supervisor is out of town, leaving me with more daily responsibilities. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being a grown-up, and thinking the whimsy is over. Good thing I’ve got my Wobbling grandma to keep me in check.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my journey this week. It’s scary…when mindfulness is your mantra traveling anywhere else in time is a dangerous feat. But most things we do are finite, and I can’t help but ponder where I’ll be summoned after my year with Change a Heart comes to an end. My Pal Kim and I make every effort to avoid talk about life after CAH, for no other purpose than we already can’t imagine the pain of leaving everything here we’ve come to love. But I feel like if nothing else, I must be aware of stirrings in my soul. And, if the Grinch is any inclination, when my heart hurts because it feels like it’s growing I should probably make note. Maybe that ping of love means there will be more Wobbling seniors in my future. Whether that’s the case or not, if nothing else, in 60 years I sure hope that I’m still Wobbling.

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One Response to “When Grandma Learned to Wobble”

  1. Annie Hayes October 29, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    Dance, then, wherever you may be 🙂

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