Old Women Holding On

A couple of days ago I talked about old men, and I said I would give equal time to old women.  Well, here goes.  Being of that species myself, I have observed how old women develop a need to hold on to things.  By the description of “things” I mean hair styles, clothes, attitudes about culture, instincts about mothering, and memorabilia from their loved ones to name a few.  I thought about adding husbands to the list but that has been changing in the last decade or so.

Hair styles—myself and my sisters have had the same hairstyle for the last 20 years (but not always the same color).  Each of our styles offer clues to our personality.  One sister, who is more traditional, has one of those short styles with the tight, little curls you see coming out of the old-school beauty shop (some with shades of blue).  Another sister, the more matriarchal type, has long hair twisted in a bun on the back of her head.  I have a more romantic, artistic, to-the-shoulder or longer hair style, worn free when I go out.  Clothing—I cycle my clothes, wearing new clothes until they get a little worn, then use them for everyday use, and eventually use them for painting and yard work.  I throw in an occasional new selection to keep the recycling ongoing.

Attitudes about culture—old women would like the younger generation to have the same values and ideas they grew up with as a child.  That was one of the most illusive concepts I have had to assimilate.  Conversational habits, high tech gadgetry, the use of internet gaming, fashion, dating, and work ethic are no longer the same no matter how much we want it to remain as such.  I finally realized this change of culture norms has been happening, maybe not at such a fast pace, but throughout history.  God doesn’t seem to be blown out of the water about it, and still meets each generation where they are at in the present.  They, in turn, will probably have trouble understanding their grandchildren in the future.

Instincts about mothering—young woman may have trouble learning how to parent, but once we get it, it won’t turn loose of us.  I find myself telling my son how to do things, only catching myself at times when he gets this peculiar look on his face like “I’m no longer a child…”  Or worrying about my grandson’s safety.  He has recently turned the tables on me, and is directing my driving, telling me to do this or that until I want to scream…”I’m not a child…”

But a universal “holding on” problem with old women has to be saving memorabilia, things given to them from their children or other sentimental items.  First, it starts with filling shelves with these memory-inducing items, then filling up boxes in storage with the drawings made in elementary school, etc.  You would think we are trying to document the child’s life.  Of course, we are saving it for the child when they eventually get mature enough to realize they want them after all.

I know it is important to present a sense of permanence to our children, a heritage, an assurance that things will remain the same when storms of life sweep through, but we also need to be willing to change, or at least to understand and accept the present culture for the sake of relationships.  And it is to the advantage of a woman to be a little unpredictable and a little mysterious, whatever her age.