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Growing old gracefully

It finally arrived. My newest grandchild’s stocking, to be hung next to her parents and her brothers, could be added to the living room mantel. The mantle, which used to hold only 3 belonging to my daughters, now holds 12. No other stockings can be added as they simply won’t fit. I proudly displayed Caroline’s brand new stocking with her name embroidered on the top and stepped back. It just didn’t seem that long ago when my girls couldn’t bear to wait until Christmas morning to rush in and see what gifts were under the tree.

Traditions are good for the soul although our family’s are changing. Dan and I are now grandparents of 4. We will get up on Christmas morning and travel to see our grandchildren open gifts. We will host the Christmas Eve gathering this year for gift exchange with their cousins. It’s delightful. I’ve always seen myself as the loving grandmother who plays with the children on the floor, rides bikes, hikes trails, takes them out to gather eggs and chases the dog. I love baking cookies and singing lullabies in the rocking chair but there’s more fun to be had, right? There’s a new definition of grandmother to behold.

According to my doctor, this may not be the case anymore. He told me today after I made an appointment to complain about a “strained muscle” that perhaps, maybe, I’m not growing old gracefully.


I must say, while I enjoy his candor about other medical issues, he could’ve not been so sincere.

I arrived at his office to get to the bottom of the aches and pains I can’t seem to shake. Squatting, lifting, stretching, all of these things I used to take for granted seem to, well, hurt now. A lot. I told him this couldn’t be right. Something must be wrong with me. Some medical mystery was reeking havoc on my body and we had to find an answer.

The strain came from simply lifting a PVC pipe over my head. It weighs nothing. How could I strain a muscle from that?

“Pamela,” he said. “Maybe you should try something different.”

But, I whined, I enjoy CrossFit. It’s so much fun, I said.

“Although accidents on a treadmill are funny to watch, they’re rare.” This he said to me with a straight face. I didn’t consider straining a muscle with a PVC pipe to be an accident, but, then again, he is the doctor.

My point is this. I am resolved to stay active and be there for my grandchildren even if I cannot participate in movements performed at relatively high intensity (definition of CrossFit). I will play and I will sing with a loud silly voice whenever needed.

Right now, I will fill each stocking on the mantle with joy and consider growing old with more grace than I’ve given before. I will stop complaining about strained muscles and try not to trip myself on the treadmill for other’s entertainment. 

This article originally appeared on Santa Rosa Press Gazette: Growing old gracefully

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