By Karen Adragna Walsh
My mother is 95½ years old. She lives alone and “deaf-initely” needs new hearing aids. Telltale signs are: the volume on her TV is at its max, and she assumes that everyone else has Superman hearing powers. For example, I will be in another room, the bathroom or even outside, and she will continue to carry on a conversation as if I’m still within hearing range.
The solution was simple. Get her hearing evaluated. So I took her to an audiologist. Mom proved to be a real gem in more ways than one.
The doctor examined her right ear and extracted a tiny piece of wax. Upon examining her left ear, he removed a pea-sized black ball of wax.
Jokingly, the doctor said to me, “This looks like a piece of coal. It could turn into a diamond in two years.”
I replied, “Put it back!”
I should never have said that, because it jump-started karma. Did that comment classify as a case of senior abuse? I confess that I had a momentary lapse of a monetary gain at my mother’s expense.
Soon afterward, I was traveling to the Washington, D.C., area, to help my soon to be 27-year-old daughter move into a new apartment. On the plane from Buffalo to the D.C. airport, I was seated on an aisle seat. A toddler being carried by her mother said, “Look, there’s great-grandma.” Not grandma, but great-grandma.
I immediately bit my tongue, and replied, “Oh, I can be … let me know if she’s acting up.”
Now I’m thinking, look kid, I’m not your great-grandma – not today or in the foreseeable future. OK, forgive and forget. I’ll give it up to the innocence of youth, for this mistaken identity.
Then karma struck again. My plane landed and that evening my daughter and I went for a stroll after dinner. A middle-aged woman sitting on a bench, smoking a cigarette, saw us.
“Wow, look at that,” she commented. “Just what I like to see, a granddaughter and her grandmother. How sweet.”
Then she said, “I hope to be around for my granddaughter when I’m your age.”
Exactly what age is that? I wanted to confiscate her cigarettes and lecture her that her tobacco use had clouded her vision and judgment. This isn’t my granddaughter; this is my daughter, thank you very much.
Who are these people? Are these the same people who ask obese women: When are you expecting?
Did I just experience a time machine age-warp during my flight? Did I age during air space travel? No, I didn’t, because my beautiful daughter who is almost 27 looks like she is 12 years old. She’s petite; a whopping 5 feet tall, weighs under a hundred pounds and is baby-faced.
So, it’s not that I look old but that my daughter looks extremely young. This is not fake news.
The questionable news is that I do have a fake tan, which is the result of multiple aging brown spots connecting.
But, I can’t be old because I’m still capable of reproducing. Of course, it’s not children but clusters of skin tags. My body has been constantly popping out these babies. They are still quite small, so I haven’t named them yet.
So what exactly is the solution to my dilemma? Should I undergo major cosmetic surgery? Or simply not be seen in public with my daughter?
Confession. Maybe I have a hard time accepting the aging process. This is evident in the fact that my photo here is at least 30 years old.