Aging, Sisterhood, and Clarity

Getting older can be a real buzzkill. One minute you’re 18 and the world is laid out in front of you like one of those naked chicks acting as a human plate in a European sushi place, and the next minute you’re attempting to do 8 minutes of abs on the floor of your baby’s room but all you hear is your hip cracking with every reverse curl.

It can bring you down. Okay, I’m being nice, it can get you down and make you stay down.

But today I had this epiphany about aging. Although my body and gravity are far from BFF’s now, aging has given me something I never had before… a bit of clarity. Clarity about our place in the universe, and mostly about the feelings I have towards my friendships with other women.

We all know at least one woman that we look at and say, “Damn, girlfriend has got her shit together. I wish I had my shit together like that” and contrarily we also know many who we look at and say, “Bitch needs to get her shit together. I’m so glad I’ve got my shit more together than that.” I think I’ve fallen into both of these categories at some stage of my life. Some more than others. What freaked me out about having these types of attitudes and opinions about other women, was the fact that I’d pegged it as jealously, and the idea that I was jealous of someone else’s success made me feel pretty sick about myself. In hindsight, I wasn’t jealous. Not in the slightest, but I didn’t know better then.

Recently though, I’ve started to realize that being enamored of someone didn’t make me a jealous person. I didn’t want what they had, I didn’t want to take their mojo away from them. Well, maybe I wanted a little bit of their good stuff to rub off on me, but I’m not a mojo sucking vampire. That’s when the truth jumped up and bit me, some people just have that “it” factor. That little thing that makes them a true shining star in your day. Even when their life isn’t going according to plan, even when things are really screwed up, you won’t know because they shine bright in your You-niverse and that’s all you see.

Ironically it took someone, telling me, that I had that “it” factor in their eyes, which brought me to this mind-blowing-moment. Me? Who-the-hell would look at me like that? My first thought? A crazy person, but this is actually someone I love and respect. I was just so floored with this revelation that I needed to take a step back and see myself the way she saw me. Sure I’m old and tired, sarcastic and silly… but maybe, just maybe, on a good day, I can be the center of her You-niverse, that little thing that makes her say, “Hahaha, Yes!”

Women are usually their own worst critic and rarely give ourselves the props we deserve. I’m that type of woman, normally… but I’m gonna bottle up that good feeling from today, take her amazing compliment, keep it in the kitchen, and whip it out when I’m feeling down.

So I guess this is growing up.

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Grandma and The Mighty Atom

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I’m so bad.

With the birth of my 3rd child things around here got really complicated. Trying to time everything just right: handle all the schedules, keep it smooth sailing for the older kids while balancing the needs of a newborn… I wanted life to be seamless. I think I’ve done a pretty good job. They are all still alive and DCF hasn’t been to the house. {Happy Dance}

Unfortunately, I’ve let other things slide. Me time (yeah, right… what’s that), personal friendships (I’m sorry friends, I swear I’ll call soon), and the most important thing of all… the rest of my family, more specifically, my grandmother.

I am so blessed to still have my grandma in my life, on this earth and living only 30 minutes from me. She’s a quick-witted, 91-year-old fireball and the only thing larger than my love for her is my respect for her. It’s been 11 years since she lost my papa (they dated since she was 14) and although I know she misses him terribly (we all do) Grandma still lives her life. Everything I need to know about love, humility and commitment can be learned from GG (her nickname, as she is my kid’s Great Grandmother).

With a houseful of kids it really is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, and because Grandma is in fine overall health, I hadn’t made a lot of time for her, until yesterday. Grandma came over for dinner, played with the great-grandkids, swam in the pool, and even read my blog. Yesterday was a great time and a real eye-opener. It’s easy to forget that my grandma was once a 37-year-old mom too, and a girl, and an adolescent, and a public school teacher. It’s easy to just look at her, the way she is now, at 91, and forget that she lived a whole different life before me, before my mom, before now. Thank G-d I have Grandma to remind me.

After dinner last night GG said,

“Do you have On Demand?”

{Complete shock} Sure we have On Demand, I can’t believe you even know what that is… What would you like to watch?

“Well, my friend, Moshe, is on America’s Got Talent… do you know that show?”

Of course I know that show. What are you talking about, “your friend” is on it. {Now I’m getting a bit worried… is GG losing it?}

“My old friend, Moshe, he’s the “Mighty Atom Jr.” His father was the “Mighty Atom”. He pulls a car with his teeth. I missed the show and I’d love to see it.”

Of course, through my love of pop-culture and Americana, I’d heard of “The Mighty Atom”. He was a popular (and world renown) 20th Century Strongman. Guess what? GG grew up with his kid.

Mike Greenstein, or Moshe, (as GG has known him forever) grew up with Grandma in Brooklyn. They are still friends today, talk on the phone all the time, and he’s even come to visit her in Florida. He is also a Strongman, and at 93-YEARS-OLD, pulls CARS WITH HIS TEETH. I know, take a minute and let that sink in.

His father (Joe Greenstein) used to pull cars with his hair. Grandma says he’d do it in the street for the kids to see. What? My kids are impressed if a neighbor invites them over for a barbecue… times really have changed.

So we pulled up the video from America’s Got Talent so Grandma could see Moshe in all his 93-year-old, strongest-teeth-ever, car-pulling glory.

The insane part is that while watching this video, with Grandma, I could see her as a young woman again. I could see Moshe as a young man too. That strength: the bravery it takes to age, in a society which throws our elderly out the door without a glance. I’m in awe of them. All of them. Grandma has always told me she still thinks she’s 18-years-old in her mind. I can totally understand that now as I’m looking 40 in the underbelly.

I told GG that although I’ve never seen her move a 5,000 pound automobile with her teeth, her presence moves mountains.

At least it does for me.