We all know what a grandmother looks like. Curly silver hair crowning a face of mercy and smiles, lips eternally puckered to plant the next big, wet one right on those darling chubby cheeks, any chubby cheeks - north or south! In fact, we know just how she smells...the sweet lavendar soap and the aromas of a day's baking clinging to her fuzzy housecoat. Funny how the initial image conjured up in my imagination is far from the real image of my children's grandma! Fiftyish and stylish she is often asked if she is the mother of my children, while I'm standing right there!
Which brings me to my point...just what does a mother look like?! I have, for the most part, always appreciated comments about how I look too young to have 4 children. That is until this past week, on a trip back to my hometown, my average assumed age hit a new low...15! My husband still doesn't believe me but then he's always been super competitive about who even looks better after having 4 children (c'mon, what are his buddies thinking when they tell him he looks great...how much weight has he gained and lost in 4 years or how difficult was his schedule while nursing every 2.5 hours and still trying to find energy to make it to the gym or fighting the hunger cravings that come with births, nursing, and just plumb exhaustion?!)! One classmate of my sister thought I was the baby cheering during their volleyball games during highschool - really?! - I played on that same team one year later! Another thought I was the youngest sister and that my 14 year-old sister was me! Now, I've gotten this wherever I go but have never really known how to answer that all too common question, "Are all these yours?!?
Finally, on a recent trip to the children's hospital, my answer came to me...regretably, too late to be considered witty but ready for the next innocent observer who dares challenge my maturity! Anyhow, I walked into the er examing room and the doctor asked me who Emmanuelle favored in looks. When I responded that most say she looks like her brother, she responded with astonishment..."you have another?!" Well, you can imagine her next line when told we have three more at home. Yep, you guessed it: "Wow! You look too young to have 4 kids!" Ironically, she didn't look quite old enough to be called dr. and yet I didn't hold that against her! But to be fair, she did look alot closer to my age, my real age, which actually is just enough years to fit that doctorate in.
And then, my answer came (sound the Hallelujah chorus...!): "While you were majoring in ______ (ie, medicine), I was majoring in motherhood!"