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Aging Gracefully?

Posted Nov 10 2009 10:02pm

I had the chance to go on a field trip for my niece today with my sister and the babies. I haven't been on a pre-school field trip for a long time so it was very fun to be around a bunch of excited 4 year olds. As we were walking out, my niece's teacher says to another little girl-"Go ahead and follow Ellie's grandma" meaning me. Ummm.....Grandma?? Ouch.

When you are told that you are going to have to have chemo and lose your hair, there is a certain amount of vanity that you have to let go of and deal with the fact that you are not going to look the same as you did before. But here's the thing...I wasn't thrilled to lose my hair at all, but once I did, I was actually pretty happy with my head and how I looked. I felt like all through chemo, besides looking a bit pale, I was looking OK.

Now that my hair is growing back and I am healthy, I have been under the illusion that I was looking pretty good. I am 44, I have decent skin with not very much wrinkling, dark brown hair-no gray, I am relatively fit. I don't wear mom jeans, I try to stay up on fashion. I mean really....grandma?? Not that there aren't 44 year old grandmas, there are, but hopefully none of them have children that are my sister's age.

My sister is 39 years old which means if this woman truly thought I was her mother, then she thought I was at least 59, 60? My own mother is a very young looking 65 and my grandmother is a very young looking 85. While they are both lovely and young looking, I'm not entirely sure I want to be thought of as the same age. And while my sister is beautiful and wonderful, I can't in all honesty say I would mistake her for someone who is 23 or 24 with a 44 year old mother.

Have I just been so happy to be healthy that I didn't realize that I look much older than I am? Did I really go from looking 43 before diagnosis to looking 59 after?? What a blow to the ego that is. Now what? I guess I need to start taking a hard look at how I appear to other people and what I am doing to stay healthy. Or maybe I just say this woman is not especially observant and clearly spends too much time around 3 and 4 year olds. Maybe I just shoot daggers at her until she realizes that not only am I only 44 years old, I am still young enough to take her out in the parking lot and teach her a lesson!
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