My niece is visiting with us this week. Since we moved to Georgia six years ago, I’ve only seen her for a meal here and there during our occasional trips back to Maryland. It’s been nice to get to know the beautiful young woman she’s become.
I must admit to being a very corrupt auntie, though. I took her to see Magic Mike this weekend. Yeah, I should have read the reviews just a tad more carefully, but I’m going with the excuse of having spent three days outside in the triple digit heat: My common sense melted. Fortunately, my niece is a mature college student who wasn’t at all embarrassed by the movie’s content. I, on the other hand, was a little flustered because I still picture her as a three-year-old, chair dancing on my living room furniture. If she was creeped out about watching this type movie with her 50-year-old aunt, she never let on. Maybe it was because an octogenarian in a walker nearly bowled us both over trying to secure the best seat in the theatre so she could whistle loudly each time Matthew McConaughey strutted onto the screen.
“Wow,” my niece laughed. “When I grow up, I want to be just like her!”
The rest of the week was spent taking in Atlanta landmarks like CNN, The Georgia Aquarium, The Varsity, and a Braves game at Turner Stadium on July Fourth. But, a part of the trip she particularly enjoyed involved a box of old photographs. My daughter recently discovered a bin of old pictures from the early to mid-1900’s. She was astounded to learn that several of the pictures were of her grandmother as a little girl. Now, conceptually, she understands her grandmother wasn’t always in her 70’s, but she just couldn’t picture what my mother might have looked like. Naturally, she had to share this treasure with her cousin. One thing led to another and soon we were digging through boxes of old photos—my office seems to be the repository for all the family photos, diplomas, baptismal certificates and mass cards. My niece wanted to see pictures of her dad as a child. And, being the loving sister that I am, I had to oblige. (Before you gripe, Dave, I was in many of those pictures looking just as dorky.) We laughed our way through the evening, sorting and scanning and posting to Facebook, my niece happy to see the part of her father she would never know—before he became boring, she said. When we’d finished, the two girls plotted about going through the pictures with their kids years from now so my grandchildren could see their geezer grandmother as a little girl with pig tails and horn rim glasses.
Yes, the trip down memory lane did make me feel a bit nostalgic and—well, older. But, I’m not letting that hold me back. I’m approaching the second half of my life with energy and fun. I want to be like the little old lady watching naughty movies and whistling at the screen. I want to be like the women still chasing a national basketball title in the indie film Granny’s Got Game. Who knows, maybe I’ll be like Grandma Moses of the literary world and crank out bestsellers in my 80’s. It’s never too late, right?