An Open Letter from an Older Adoptee
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The Case of the Chlorine and the Curl
LOCAL NEWS ITEM: "Creative Endeavors Gift Shop at the Community Center invites area seniors age 50 and over to sell their arts and crafts at the shop."
This one stopped me cold. I will admit, at age 53, that I could be in age-denial. But arts and crafts at the senior center? I mean, where exactly does that fit in? I have a 10 year old for god's sake. Now, my 10 year old might actually like to do crafts with me, but it hasn't happened yet and likely never will. We are too busy going to raves together and renting R-rated movies. Or, at least that's our attitude, anyway.
CONFESSION: In a sick fit of guilty self-flagellation, I ordered Family Fun Magazine from our school's fundraiser last year. This magazine turns me to stone. I open it up and am completely horrified by my own inadequacies, yet I read on!
"Who ordered this?" my 19 year old asked, seeing Family Fun on the table one morning next to my coffee cup and Donettes.
"I did", I answered. She raised her eyebrows at me.
"But Mom, this magazine is about crafts and scrapbooking and baking cupcakes," she explained.
"I've decided there's still time to parent your sisters more productively than I parented you," I said pointedly.
Ahh, but who am I kidding? The only thing worse than reading Family Fun magazine is reading the magazine's "Mailbox" section. This is where I am forced to face the facts: there are moms out there who actually DO these craft projects with their kids, and they document their alien acts of Quality Time with photographs and lively captions.
YES, but none of these Family Fun moms are 53. I recently read a "Throw a Family Reunion Camp-Out " article in the August issue, and it took me a moment to realize that the attractive 'mom' model featured in the article's inter-generational photo spread was actually supposed to be the grandma. I was sort of relating to her, too, and thinking she might pass for 35 if she got rid of the gray.
I guess my real problem isn't with my age (AARP offers the absolute best hotel discounts), or with my inability to engage in crafts. My problem is with the schizophrenic way our culture deals with older moms; like we are just not supposed to exist. Apparently, I should either be retired and selling my bird houses at the Creative Endeavors Senior Shop, or be 26 and directing the kids in making a "Woven Tie-Dye Wall" (I am not joking. This is the name of a real Family Fun project). Older mom demographics seem to mystify Marketing and Advertising; add an Asian child or two to the mix and I think they all just throw up their hands.
After I read an issue of Family Fun I practically fall to the sofa with inertia. I am not jealous of the young moms who do fun things with their children,I am jealous of their energy. I am tempted to start my own magazine for older adoptive parents, featuring lots of sugar and caffeine. I will offer articles on retirement-parenting, and on living cheap in Costa Rica on depleted investment funds. The magazine will be realistic, witty, wise, with big print. But sorry, no crafts.
Contributed by Jean MacLeod www.AdoptionToolbox.com
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