My friend, Sarah, who works as a nanny for two adorable girls, ages three and five, also coaches a girls’ volleyball team. Her two charges were with her at a recent game, one that I happened to see. When I walked into the gym, Lucy and Nora gave me excited hugs, causing the nearby referee to ask, “Are these your grandkids?” I am a grandmother, but I wasn’t aware that I looked like one.

Until then.

The question, one I have never before been asked, shocked me.

And I was shocked that I was shocked.

And then I was shocked that I was shocked that I was shocked….

You get the idea.

This is my sixtieth year and I joke about being old, but I wasn’t aware that I really look old. I pushed aside my shock, gave the man an answer, and tried to concentrate on the girls and the game.

Nora was sitting in my lap, with Lucy beside me on the bleachers, when I felt a tickle on my leg. I looked down to see that Lucy was running her finger along the little red veins a couple inches above my knee. When I told her they were spider veins, she looked at her own thigh and said, “I don’t have any.”

“I didn’t either when I was your age,” I said.

Lucy then pointed to the legs of Kayla, an older girl standing on the other side of me. “She doesn’t have any.”

“No, she doesn’t,” I acknowledged, and tried to explain how aging skin gets thinner, allowing veins to show through. Kayla, listening to our conversation, agreed. “My grandmother has veins like that.”

Lucy went back to playing with her stuffed toy and though I stared at the game, my mind was contemplating oldness and the fact that my age impacts the way I look and am perceived by others, regardless of how young I feel inside. Granted, I have plenty of aches and pains to remind me of my age, but I still make an effort to keep in shape, am attracted to trendy clothes, admire good-looking men regardless of age, and like to eat at Sonic. I’m not surprised that little children find me grandmotherly, but I had never before considered that when a younger man looks at me he sees, rather than an attractive woman, his mother…or grandmother.

Wow. That’s a powerful realization I’m not sure I wanted, or expected, to have.

It is, however, one that clears my vision far more than cataract surgery ever could.

I’m no longer a head-turner. Just a granny.

“Young man, could you help me cross the street?”


  1. Jeremy
    Nov 10, 2014

    Hey Karen,

    I’m also getting older my: I’m 25. TWENTY-FIVE! When I was a kid, I thought 20 was pretty old, and I thought that, by that time, I’d have things figured out: yeah, I’d have a house, a lucrative career, a wife, two vehicles, and a start on the 2.5-child-per-household average. 🙂


    • Karen Curran
      Nov 12, 2014

      Oh, to be 25 again! Actually I would not want to go back to that age, since I was trying to survive a dying marriage at the time.
      Life is good! I just can’t believe I’m sixty! I thought I’d be dead by now:)

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