So, like many of you, I have a mother. She’s 86 years old, tiny like a bird, and (in my admittedly subjective opinion) one of the Last Surviving Real Ladies. Caps intended.
And, like some of you, I have a daughter, whose name is the same (what a coincidence!). She’s ten years old, strong and fast, and flips between girly princess mode and slightly gross mode, in that uniquely ten-year-old fashion.
Here’s the thing. Sometimes, I find myself looking at my daughter and nearly saying “that’s not very ladylike!” But I don’t. Because “ladylike” is such an old fashioned, irrelevant, word, right?
But then I think of my mother. She’s not a lady because she’s fancy or snobby. When she drinks her tea she keeps her pinky finger firmly in place.
[blockquote align=”none” author=””]But every day, even when she’s not seeing anyone all day long, she puts on some lipstick, makes sure her hair is curled, and wears a pretty scarf and a twinkly bracelet or brooch. [/blockquote]
When she sees someone she likes, she smiles and chats and has interesting things to say. And she’s interested – she listens through her whistling hearing aids, and she really hears you. She’ll remember what you said, and next time she sees you, she’ll ask you how it all went. And … get this … she’ll genuinely want to know.
When she sees someone she doesn’t like, she smiles and chats and has interesting things to say. She’s marginally less interested and she may decide not to use that fading memory on your stories. But next time she sees you, she’ll still ask you how it all is.
So this weekend I’ll take my little girl to see Grandma, with her pretty scarf and her hair all curled. Sometimes my daughter will ask if she can watch Nickelodeon (Grandma has Sky and we don’t – my mother is huge rugby fan). Usually I let her. But this weekend, I’ll say no. Its Grandma time, honey. Watch, listen, and learn.
Post script: One week after this post, my mother was diagnosed with what would take her from us nine months later. Unsurprisingly, she listened to every little thing right up until the end.