Grandma's grand impression

ballet practice

As I get older, I find that I no longer care much about impressing others. That wasn't always the case.

I recall doing my best to impress as far back as my primary school years, in particular during a fateful event featuring a frog. That should have left a lasting impression upon me the folly of trying to impress others. It didn't.

Years later, my older sister reinforced the idea that impressing others matters when she, a teen at the time and me a pre-teen, introduced me to her new boyfriend. My sister and I shared a bedroom, and she positioned me on the full bed we shared with a book in my lap. "Be sure to put on your glasses before he comes in," she said. "That way he'll think you're smart."

I did look smart. He, though, turned out to be an idiot — which my sister realized only after that boyfriend became her husband then, thankfully, ex-husband.

I still wear glasses, and I still look pretty darn smart in them. I wear them strictly to see, though, not to impress. Because, like I said, impressing others matters not one whit to me. I no longer work to impress my immediate family nor my extended family, not my friends nor strangers. Not even my boss.

Okay, the last one — my boss — doesn't really count because as a freelancer, I have no boss. I do, though, have my readers. And while I do hope to entertain and enlighten you to some degree, I certainly don't try to impress you.

Nope, impressing others is no longer important to me.

Except, that is, when it comes to my grandchildren.

You grandparents likely know what I mean. What others think of us is neither here nor there, yet what our grandchildren think of us is everything. So we do our best to impress the wee ones, performing stunts of magnificent athletic/artistic/intelligence proportion that scream "Look at me! Love me! Be impressed by me!"

And sometimes those shouts and stunts fail miserably. Or they just plain scare the <cuss> out of the kids. Which is exactly what happened not too long ago when I tried to impress Bubby with Gramma's grace and agility.

Bubby had been impressing me with his newfound acrobatic skills, when I chose to reciprocate and show him my own not-so-newfound but perhaps equally impressive moves. Specifically, I wanted Bubby to see how I could still turn a mean cartwheel, despite not having performed a cartwheel in, well, a few years, give or take a decade or three.

"Stand back," I told Bubby as I raised my arms in the air and assumed cartwheel take-off position.

My obedient grandson stood back, eyes wide and mouth ajar, as Gramma lurched forward, perfectly placed on the floor one hand then the other, then lifted one fo... oh ... lifted nothing, as my feet flat-out refused to follow the perfect lead of my hands. My cartwheel attempt and I came crashing down, much to the horror of Bubby.

"You shouldn't do that, Gramma" Bubby uttered with restrained concern. "You might hurt yourself."

I was okay, though; the only thing hurt was my pride.

But... there was no stopping me and my intent to impress.

"Well, forget the cartwheel," I told Bubby. "But Gramma can definitely still perform perfect somersaults." Sheesh, who couldn't? I thought.

Let's just say my somersault attempt was only slightly less catastrophic than my cartwheel attempt — and only because it didn't require me to become semi-airborne.

Truth is, my body weighs many, many pounds more than it once did, pounds that posed quite a challenge to my neck when I placed my head firmly on the floor and set myself in slow but purposeful forward motion in typical somersault fashion. Slow being the operative word as I felt a crunch in my neck that signaled Gramma had gone a wee bit beyond awkward on this move and had rolled right on into physically dangerous territory.

Bubby grimaced while offering "Wow, Gramma" as quickly as possible so I'd dare not attempt another roll. (Little did he know there was no way in <cuss> Gramma could have proceeded into a second roll.) Fortunately he — nor Megan — ever seemed to noticed how stiff I held my head and neck for the next several days of my visit, as I truly had hurt myself, that it was more than my pride I had been pinged in that particular attempt to impress.

From such folly, I must admit I did learn one important lesson from Bubby: Quit trying so hard.

It was later during that same visit that I realized my sister had been right all those years ago: Sporting spectacles is indeed the key to making a smart impression.

Bubby tries on Gramma's glasses.

If nothing else, glasses are definitely the safest way for a grandma to make an impression — at least for this sometimes-not-so-smart grandma.

Today's question:

How have you tried — and possibly failed — to impress your grandchildren or children?