Last month I turned forty-three. My oldest daughter, who is 19, asked what I wanted for my birthday. I told her I could really use more thong underwear. You know those really stretchy ones made by Hanky Panky? They’re super comfortable and don’t show through your clothes. Anyway, the only downside is they cost like eighteen dollars a pair; so I don’t own that many.
She smiled and said, “Great!”
And so I assumed when I opened the present from her I would find one (or possibly two!) pair of shiny, new underwear. Instead, tucked under two sheets of red tissue paper was some kind of computer print-out photo. It only took me one second to figure out what it was.
It was an ultrasound photo of a black blob with a tiny, white, shadowy pinto bean looking thing in the middle.
Please tell me this is a picture of gall stone. Please tell me this is a picture of a gall stone.
Thoughts began whirling around in my head and I was sure the room was spinning. SOMEONE GET ME OFF THIS ROLLER COASTER, I’M GETTING DIZZY!
“Mom, are you OK?”
“I don’t know. What am I looking at?” I asked as I closed my eyes and waited for the answer.
“Well…I’m pregnant. I didn’t mean to get pregnant, but I am. And so…now you’re going to be a grandma.”
Wait. What did she just call me? A grandma? ME?!
I can’t be somebody’s grandmother. I’m barely old enough to be somebody’s MOM. I have a first-grader for Christ’s sake; grandmas don’t have children in elementary school!
Look, up until five years ago I had a fully functioning uterus of my own. My body was a baby breeding machine. I’ve birthed four kids. FOUR. I could procreate with the best of them; I’LL PROCREATE THE SHIT OUT OF IT RIGHT NOW. You know, if I still had a uterus and wasn’t knee-deep into perimenopause. But, nevertheless, I’m too young to be a grandmother. My mom is a grandmother; hell my GRANDMOTHER is a grandmother. But me? Look out perky my boobs are. And my skin? Still has elasticity.
I think I’m going to pass out. It’s so freaking hot in here right now. I can’t remember if I took my estrogen this morning.
“Mom, you’re scaring me. You haven’t said anything in like three minutes. You’re staring off into space and your eyes look kinda funny. Hello? Are you OK?”
“Let’s get one thing straight, girl. I’m still young. Ish. And I…I can still dance. I can stay up late. Sometimes. And I know all the words your generation is saying because I say them all the time: dude, dope, shizzle, homey, totes…I get it. I’m totally with the times. OK? So I don’t need you coming over here on my BARELY fortieth-something birthday and start throwing around the G-word. Are we clear?
“Yes, ma’am. Don’t call you grandma. Got it.”
“Good. Because I will NOT wear old lady shoes and I refuse to begin sentences with the phrase ‘back in my day’ and dammit I still want those thong underwear!”
At some point I think I must have blacked out because the next thing I know I woke up in my bed with a cold compress on my head. And sitting on the nightstand next the bed was an empty bottle of wine.
It looks like I’m going to be a g-word. At the age of 43. And while it’s hard to wrap my brain around (because seriously, in my head I’m still twenty-seven), I’m secretly excited to spoil and love on a baby again. Except this time? When the crying starts I can just smile and hand the little bundle of joy back to the mama.
I think being a grandma may not be so bad after all.
Just don’t call me Grandma.