The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Grandad’s Muesli

“No Poppy! Leave Grandad’s muesli alone!”

When my stepdaughter, Layla, and her wee ones came to visit us back in the summer, this statement almost had me spraying my breakfast over the table as though I’d been whacked across the back of the skull with the blunt end of Death's scythe.

I picked a few loose oat flakes out of my beard and cardigan, wriggled my toes inside my slippers and reflected on how old I suddenly felt.

While most of the time it’s taken in my stride, occasionally it strikes me as all a bit odd. Maggie is 9 years older than me and had three children already with her when we first met. They are now aged 19, 22 and 24, and my 22-year-old stepdaughter has 2 children of her own. I clearly remember the day, nearly two years ago, when Layla asked me if I wanted to be called “Grandad or Grandpa” and all I could think was that both sounded too bloody old to me.

Added to that, Maggie was the baby of her family, with her brothers being a decade or so older than her. This meant that back in the summer, at my in-law’s Diamond Wedding Anniversary, one of the prime topics of conversation was about early retirement.

So despite the fact that I am in fact only 39, it’s not uncommon to feel like I’m at least a generation older.

And there are days, usually when I’m feeling a bit low and flat, and wondering if I’m ever actually going to do anything decent with my life, that I hear the phrase “No Poppy! Leave Grandad’s muesli alone!” echoing around my skull, and I feel terribly old indeed.


BStrong said...

Hey, you may be 39 which is quite young, but I bet you feel about 28, just a bit wiser than a typical 28 year old. Now, I think being called Grandpa at my age would startle me a bit too, but I could assure you that I would be the coolest, hippest and in vogue grandpa to my grand children. You’re in a great position where you can really enjoy their lives with them.

My grandparents were to old by the time I came along. With the exception of going to the pool with them every once in awhile, the only thing that I remember was that they use to come over our house on Saturday for tea, fun fun.

Live it up!


kats said...

Your zimmer frame is in the post LOL.

You're as old as you feel and Have a safe drive to Harrogate.


Anonymous said...

My step mother is just 12 years older than I am. She never liked the word "grandma" until she officially became one by my 24 year old brother.

Now that my brother and his wife are expecting their second child a girl we all hope) "grandma" is echoing all through their home.

39 is a bit young to be grandpa and 22 is young to have children. I think it is likely the step-daughter truly feels you are like a grandpa as she is comfortable enough to refer to you as one.

That's cool, but it would be sort of wierd to be called grandpa at 39.

Jeff said...

Hey, you are way to young Kim to be talking about being old. I am a few years ahead of you with a birthday right around the corner.

Just be the greatest Dad and GrandDad you can be.

Gyrobo said...

With technology increasing at the pace it is, you'll probably live long enough to meet your great-great-great-great grandchildren.

Gyrobo said...

And no, I'm not getting a lot of snow. I mean, I am but there's no accumulation. Just wait two months ;)

Kim Ayres said...

Bstrong - sorry to disappoint, but I don't feel 28. While there are some people who say they still feel 18 inside, even when they're 73, I've always felt a bit older, probably mid-40s or something - even when I was 18. But there are times when I really feel like I can't be less than about 15 billion years old, give or take a month.

Kats - would that be a self-assembly, flat-pack, Ikea type zimmer frame?

Back in one piece - no snow en-route despite all the warnings.

Rebecca - I think it's a matter of exposure - the first time anyone is called grandpa or grandma, they probably don't feel ready for it, even if they're in their 60s or 70s. But give it a few years and eventually you get used to it. In some ways I already am.

Jeff - I'm not complaining about being old, just feeling old. I can never complain about being old, because I get short shrift from my wife who's 9 years older

Gyrobo - that technology will only be available to the super rich. It would be politically inconvenient to allow poorer people to live longer.

El-Branden Brazil said...

"So despite the fact that I am in fact only 39, it’s not uncommon to feel like I’m at least a generation older.
I am only 33 years of age, but since returning back to the UK from Japan, it seems that this country is in constant need of reminding me that I am entering into my "Twilight Years".

True enough, that in the 18th Century, 36 years was the average life expectancy, but we live in the 21st Century. This misplaced preoccupation with youth is doing the slightly more mature among us a disservice! I still feel 18 in mind and spirit, so you young buggers out there, let this "old man" live out his fantasy.

One old man to another: Looking forward to seeing you Kim. We have made room for your zimmer frame, right next to my collection of scarves and walking sticks.

Kim Ayres said...

Well as long as you have somewhere for me to hang my colostomy bag, I'll be fine!

El-Branden Brazil said...

The dialysis machine and a fresh supply of colostomy bags will be provided. We have also purchased a lovely tartan blanket to wrap around your legs, while we watch snooker on the TV.

Don't forget to have a night cap before bed. Keep your chest warm, ducky.

Ramana Siddharth said...

within a decade or so u have the chance to be a great granddad!by the time ur 70 u'll be a gr8 gr8 gr88 grandfather!hey u seem full of dont feel 2 old!saw the einstein 1.i guess u must be feeling like midlife = introspection squared!

Kim Ayres said...

el-branden - Mmmm... tartan blankets... mmmm...

siddharth - Well, my grandaughter is just coming up to 2 years old, so I hope it's more like 2 decades before she thinks about making me a great-grandfather!

Gyrobo said...

Well, of course that technology will only be provided to the super rich. That's why it's so important that you win the lottery ;)

Natalia said...

That was hilarious! Hehehe...


Kim Ayres said...

Gyrobo - well observed ;)

Natalia - glad you enjoyed it.

Stella said...

ROFL Kim, sorry for laughing but it IS funny ;-) Really enjoyed the post, probably cos I'm older than you and I'm definitely NOT ready to be called granny, grandma etc.

Kim Ayres said...

Don't be sorry Stella - I was hoping you'd find it funny! If I can find an angle on events in my life that people can relate to, find amusing, and reflect somewhat on the human condition, then that's what I'm striving for.

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