THE BLOG

The Many Grey Shades of Being Fifty

07/18/2014 12:33 EDT | Updated 09/17/2014 05:59 EDT
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"To be fair, mom, there aren't too many people who are older than you." The defense from my 14-year-old daughter upon discovering I was not in fact the same age as a man she had just compared me to.

He was 80. I'm 50. She's never been good at math. Or tact. I'm not good at math either or I wouldn't have had three others just like her, who inform me of my advanced age and deteriorating physique each and every day. It's not enough my body does its own job of reminding me constantly that I've had four children, you see, these people feel a need to remind my brain, as well. Without them, I might actually think I was not one of the oldest people we all know. Their frank and honest assessments help to keep me grounded.

"You're not wrinkly everywhere, Mom", said my 11-year-old son with sparkling earnestness. "Just your face." Well, phew. I was concerned about my knees, after all. "Mom! Wave your arms! Now stop them from moving!" as they fall on the floor laughing.

People no longer exclaim "You can't have a 22-year-old daughter! Did you start when you were 10?" In fact, they might even ask "Is she your oldest?" Luckily my broken foot, arthritic toe and herniated disk prevent me from giving them a roundhouse kick in my sensible shoes. Those shoes, which when I wear them, this same 22-year-old daughter is known to say "So. We've given up on fashion, then."

Or the delivery person who said "I normally need proof of ID when delivering wine, but really, we're good here." If he hadn't been holding the aforementioned bottles of wine, I might have taken a swing for him. Even if the punch didn't land, the flaps on my arms might have given him a mighty slap. And just because I am a member of the Wine of the Month Club does not mean that I am old. It means that I need wine in the house at all times, and I might forget to shop for it.

I'm so old, I got over being called "Ma'am" about 20 years ago when I turned 30. Holy crap. I was 30, 20 years ago? Man, math sucks on so many levels.

As my daughter sat struggling with her French homework that night, she looked up and said. "I have to translate this. If Madonna were a pizza topping, what would she be?" I said "Having trouble with the French word for something?" She said "No. Who's Madonna?"

Et voila. I had discovered yet another person, older than me. C'est juste.

Kathy is the author of six books, including "I Am So The Boss Of You: An 8 Step Guide To Giving Your Family The Business." Follow Kathy on Twitter @KathyBuckworth

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