There are many unexpected outcomes to minding a small baby. An increased appreciation of alcohol at the end of a 10 hour shift is one. Upper arm definition from pushing a purple top-of-the-range buggy and lifting a top-of-the-range baby is another.
But the least expected, and most appreciated is the complete acceptance of me. Little G does not see the wrinkles, eye-bags, elderly skin, flab and general decrepitude that I see in the mirror every day.
To her, I am Mammar (portmanteau word Mummy + Grandma)
I am the provider of fun, snacks, meals, outings, songs (she doesn't even notice I can't carry a tune in a bucket, bless her). Her values are not those of the world around her. In her world, love is the only thing that matters, and those people who give it to her get it back. In spades.
Given that it is all too easy to let social media amplify anxieties and set ridiculous new norms, to be in the company of someone who simply couldn't give a stuff is very liberating
I was reminded of this the other week when we were hurrying home to avoid the rain. Passing a shop window, I caught sight of myself. And what a sight it was: my coat collar was crooked, my eye makeup was making a bid for freedom and my hair stuck up in a strange way.
My exasperated sigh must have attracted Little G's attention. She looked up at me, 'Mammar!' she crowed, eyes shining with love.
She gave me a smile of infinite sweetness
And all at once the hashtag elderlybinlady stopped trending.
To be continued ... .....