Tuesday, September 27, 2016

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observations: kids' reactions to me, an older lady

I don't know quite when it happened, but I'm officially a "ma'am" now.  And what's more... I've been asked if I'm my children's Grama.  Yep.  I've decided that's not so much because I actually look like a Grama in general, but because I have a good bunch of gray hair.  You know... in our culture it's not really acceptable to have gray hair unless you're quite old.  But then again, my Mom became a Grama for the first time when she was only eight years older than me.  The only way that could happen in my life is if Ria somehow has a baby at twenty.  It's definitely possible, but I'm hoping she'll be a bit older.

The child who asked if I was the Grama to my group was around ten.

Children who are about 14 and younger generally don't speak to me.  Even when I speak to them.  In the children's section of the library, this is very different.  Sometimes, in the general public, children in this range will smile.  But just as often as some do, others don't.

Youth might speak to me.  If they are on their own, they are more likely to, but it's still pretty rare.  I was blessed to experience a really neat synchronicity and met three really cool teenagers one Friday while I was writing late at Whataburger.  We had a potentially life-changing visit.  I've seen one of them since our initial meeting.

That second meeting was particularly interesting.  And very similar to another interaction I had with a completely different teenage fella I met while at the library.  Both guys greeted me in a particular way that showed that they recognized me and wanted to know if I remembered them.  I did, in both cases.  They both seemed gratified by my remembrance.

Which has led me to wonder if they were glad because of the disconnection in our culture.  I know I have gone through periods during which I yearn for meaningful connections.  I am blessed to have siblings and parents I both admire and enjoy communicating with, so such connections have always been only a text or phone call away.  More recently I've been blessed with some really wonderful friends.  So now I have even more options for meaningful connecting.  Do the youth have as many opportunities, I wonder.

Another time I initiated a conversation with a lovely twenty-something young lady.  I rarely initiate conversations with non-Whataburger employees while writing at Whataburger.  I felt like I couldn't help myself in this case, though.  She set up in so much the same way as me that I wondered if she was a writer.  I wasn't going to ask, but felt compelled.  She wasn't at Whataburger to write, but instead to work on school stuff (college).

We have crossed paths a few times since and had some really enjoyable interactions.  I think we might become friends.  I find it especially interesting because she seems so much like me about 20 years ago.  She is almost twenty years my junior!

If you're an older person (late thirties, early forties), have you had any such experiences?

If you're a youth or young adult, do you feel like you lack and/or seek meaningful connections?


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