My friend Tamara is a new grandmother. Her middle daughter continued the girl tradition this week (Tamara has three girls), just in time for Tamara's fiftieth birthday. The problem is, Tamara, in my mind, is only eighteen years old.
I guess the process at work here is the same one that acknowledges I'm forty-nine, yet at times I still feel eighteen.
It's just hard for my brain to wrap around the fact that so many of my high school friends are grandparents. I realize we're old enough, and I love the photos and the stories. But...didn't we just graduate? Wasn't it just a couple of months ago that we were dancing at Uncle Sam's and laying out on the beach in Galveston? It doesn't matter how often I see my classmates...even the ones I see a lot have an aura of their teenage selves about them. And the eyes never age.
My grandmother, Mam-ma, was about fifty-six and already had her signature white fluffy hair and glasses when she moved in with us. I was two. She continued to look more-or-less the same to me until she died at eighty-seven. I'm sure if I took photos and held them side-by-side, I would see the difference, see how the years left their touch on her face, but when I think of her, I picture her fifty-six-year-old self. The same goes for my other grandmother: no matter how many years went by, her image in my mind remained - still remains - the same, like a snapshot from the sixties.
In my parents' minds, they must look even younger, because the images I have of my parents follows the same trend - the faces I conjure now are theirs from my childhood. Is that why they say having children keeps you young?
So...here are the secrets to looking (relatively) young forever, at least in someone's eyes: stay in touch with your old friends, have kids, and spend time with your grandchildren.