I Never Thought I'd Experience Ageism in My Thirties {LIFE}

Yes, this is going to be a little ranty but I'm still stewing over a handful of conversations I had over the weekend.  Every two weeks we travel an hour and a half to visit my husbands grandparents. They will be 90 this year and want our daughter to have a relationship with her great grandparents for as long as possible.

Long story short, we brought our three year old down to the main lounge because she likes to see the parrots and huge tropical fish tank.  There were smiles and cheers from some of the dear ones who had been sitting and looking out the window at the stormy day.  Two nurses approached and said "What a beautiful granddaughter you have."  (Insert me biting tongue as I respond) "Thank you, she's my DAUGHTER."  A few minutes later, another woman entered the lounge, possibly another visitor, and exclaimed quite loudly "What a darling princess! Did grammy bring you here to cheer up the residents?"  Suddenly the whole lounge turned focus on us and erupted in a chorus of "What a princess"... "Here with grammy." I explained that I am her mother, and it's hard to describe the looks on their faces.  I can almost hear the tongue clicking of dis-belief at the news.  At this point I wanted to shout HOW OLD DO YOU THINK I AM ANYWAY?

Princess Destructo walked over and hid behind me at this point. I didn't know if the sudden shyness was a result of having nearly 60 people suddenly turn and focus on her, or if she was trying to figure out the right way to answer people that kept calling her mommy "grammy". She has three grandmothers and two great grand mothers. I'm trying to raise her with a respect and reverence for our senior family and friends.

My first issue is- when did 37 become old?  I don't see age as a reason to say no to fulfilling my goals. I returned to school at 36 because I felt as though my Bachelor's degree from 1999 needed upgrading.  I had to find all my own internship placements and I've had some eyebrows raised at me when inquiring if I would be welcome as a student.

Secondly- when did it become socially acceptable to point out someone's age or family relationship in a room full of strangers? I just wanted to bring my kid to see the parrots before a long car ride home and left feeling embarrassed. I don't mind explaining that I'm her mother, but don't look at me like I've just sprouted purple sunflowers out of my ears while you digest this revelation.

Don't get me wrong. I know I'm getting older. I'm 37, soon to be 38. To my preschool and kindergarten students I AM old. My OB treated me like a mom of "advanced age" when I got pregnant for the first time at 34 years old. I got great health care after being annointed with this title so can't complain. I've only been called her grandma since the last 6 months. It took one encounter to start the age wave.  My husband is a stay at home dad while I'm finishing school, and he brings princess to children's programs to socialize. I went with her one day because I had an unexpected weekday off.  The staff greeted me with "Hello, are you grandma?"...awkward silence... "Um no, I'm mom. If I'm grandma what does that make my husband, he's 5 years older than me?" awkard giggle to hide my embarrassment.

I still can't get to the bottom of why this experience has bothered me so much. I'm okay with my age on one hand, but don't like having it pointed out on the other.

How do you deal with awkward social situations? 


monica said…
It's that awkward moment - isn't it - it's like when people ask you "when are you due?" and you're not even pregnant! but hey, since you're so "aged" now, at least you won't get that awkwardness anymore! (just looking on the bright side! LOL) whatever happened to "stick to talking about the weather" with strangers? smiles - monica
mimishumblepieamy said…
I would actually expect people to ask me when I'm due since my weight is way more of an issue than my age. Thanks for stopping by!

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