Street vendors, cabbies, and the occasional homeless person could all have a good time at Club Grandma. She didn’t have any close friends, but she had a lot of close acquaintances, and she loved being the center of attention.
Many of us hold a rather stereotypical vision of what a grandma “should be.” She’s the responsible one who spoils her grandchildren with the occasional sweet. She enjoys quiet hobbies like playing canasta or knitting sweaters. But why is that? And truth be told, why do we hold any of these kinds of expectations for anyone? What if grandma wants to invite everyone into her home for one big party?
In Black Sheep, author Rory Scholl reflects back on his relationship with his grandmother. As the title of the book implies, the two of them are the “black sheep” of the family. They’re the ne’er-do-wells. When do they do well? Ne’er. And they bond over this common “outcast” status, exchanging glances as the rest of the family disapproves. They were always being judged for their actions and choices, not only by family, but by peers and anyone in authority.
And now, here we were, sharing drinks behind my parents’ backs. I almost felt sorry for them. They had a ninety-year-old version of me, living in the same house I grew up in.
I don’t recall exactly where I first heard this, but it’s rather poignant and especially relevant in this context: Growing old is mandatory (if you’re so fortunate as to grow old); growing up is optional.
And yes, sometimes you’ll make bad decisions.
That’s okay. You’re only human, whether you’re 9 years old or 90 years old.
Society will always place expectations on you. There are things that you’re “supposed to do,” and you’re “supposed to do” them in a particular order. You should have your life together by the time you’re 30, whatever that means. Except you don’t. No one really knows what they’re doing, so you may as well do it your own way and have some fun along the way. Be the cool grandma.
Even if it means you might be the black sheep.