I finished the next book in my Fuchsia, Minnesota series this week and popped it off to Cozy Cat Press. In my new book, that hopefully will be titled Granny Skewers A Scoundrel, I spent some time thinking about the relationship of parents as they get into their sixties and beyond and their adult children.
Granny’s adult children, Thor, Starshine and Penelope play a larger part in this book as do Franklin’s children. In Granny Hooks A Crook, Book one of he Fuchsia, Minnesota Series, Granny is forever in danger of her children sending her to an assisted living or the wrinkle farm, a nursing home. Granny’s age is never mentioned on purpose. Is she in her 60’s, 70’s or 80’s? It is anyone’s guess, as the series continues it will be understood. The reason Granny’s age is up in the air is because of the stereotype we put on older people.
Granny does some unbelievable stuff. Elderly people aren’t supposed to act that way. Would we think differently if the character was in their 20’s or 30’s? We would probably put their strange behavior down to a night of drinking or other weird drugs or their youth.
As I was writing I was thinking about my relationship with my adult children. When my children were young, and still today, I worried about them. They are now in their 30’s and 40’s and I still worry about them but I am not used to them worrying about me. The tide has turned. They have become me. I tried to help my mother when I thought she was at the age she needed help, probably earlier than she did. Now it is our turn for our kids occasionally to try and parent us.
On a recent Minnesota Blizzard night, us old people decided to journey out with the blizzard roaring to spend time with friends. Our children when informed of this journey but at first didn’t believe we were going out and then made sure they heard from us to make sure we got there. How many times have they gave me a hard time when they were younger about calling? It felt kind of daring at our age to do something that we would have done in our youth. It was nothing in those days to bundle up, get in the vehicle, brave the blizzard and spend some time with friends while the blizzard roared outside the window? I have to admit it was exhilarating. I wondered why we didn’t do it more often but then I remembered, we are old, and it isn’t something that we normally do because we might get hurt.
Granny’s kids have a concern that she is going to fall in her flip flops, get lost with her car and is not eating right. My kids, now that they are adults bring food to make sure we are eating right, especially when we are sick. When our finances have been low they have offered money although we didn’t take it. When we balked at going to the doctor they came and took us even though we might protest going to the doctor. They have become us.
Granny does many things to outsmart her kids which doesn’t help her cause any. She likes her independence. My mother was independent and I didn’t understand it and perhaps that is why I make Granny the way she is in my book. It is a way, if my mother up above is watching, for her to know that I am sorry I didn’t understand her independence. I had bought into the stereotype that older people must act a certain way and my mom didn’t fit in. to those guidelines.
I do have to say that I think I learned that stereotype from my Grandmothers and the fact my parents took care of their parents. It was what you did in the 50’s and 60’s. Older people were not as tuned in to health and exercise as they are today. I didn’t know anyone like Granny until I my mother who broke my ideas of what old is. And then, I didn’t appreciate it because I didn’t know how to cope with it.
I expect more and more, my children will want to help me out of love and I will let them. Granny loves Thor, Starshine and Penelope and she would not do anything to hurt them. They would not do anything to hurt her and in the coming books of the series Granny’s children will have a new idea of what aging is. Granny’s children will continue their journey with Granny and learn many things about what it is to age, from the fact, older people can fall in love, dance, and even crawl on their garage roof if they are in good condition. The stubbornness keeps them going and keeps them living, loving and laughing.
My kids want to take care of me. We have switched roles but they also have become my friend. I know in the future I can depend on them if I do need help. Someday our roles might be reversed. God gives us each other to love, to learn and help each other through the seasons of our lives.
I leave you with a Grannyism, she has instructed her children that if she ever tells them this, they should believe her; “It’s my life, but I forgot where I put it. Help me out and I won’t pout. Don’t remember where it’s gone. Is it on Mavis front lawn?”