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Granny! Except, maybe not.

I adore Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, and Sarah’s mother, Barb, who keeps me company on the frigid playground while we wait for the school buses to arrive. And I can’t wait to be an old woman with long, grey, wild hair and strong opinions. I’ve never used any kind of age-hiding beauty treatment – mainly because I don’t know how. But all of this is to say, I think old women rock.

So it worries me that I rejected an illustrator’s rendition of an archeologist because…she was too old. She looked like a grandmother. And without thinking too much about it, I fired off an email requesting someone different. Someone younger. Someone that would appeal to the 12- to 15-year-olds that we’re hoping will read this book.

Four days later, I’m still worried.

It’s too late. The illustrator is off and running, pages and pages of comic book style drawings are coming my way via dropbox. And they’re fantastic. They’re funny, and engaging, and the characters are multicultural and cute. And the archeologist, the adult, isn’t too adult. She’s youngish with red hair. Not a grandmotherly wisp around her.

I am one of those people who feel righteously appalled when I hear about an older woman who’s been fired, asked to step down, called out for her age, made fun of, dismissed, excused, or belittled. I love older women. I think they’re smarter than me and have better ideas. I even think they’re cool. And I look forward to being one, if I’m lucky. So why did I reject the grandmotherly archeologist? Me, who has been taught very specific lessons about fairness by my three young sons (because kids are the experts in fair)?

Should I let it go?

Like I said, it’s too late for this particular Granny. She’s gone, her brief life as a sketch over. The redhead who took her place is vibrant and fun and readers will want to follow her all over the world.

But I think it’s important to keep the grannies in mind. To remember that not only do we have an obligation to learn from our elders, but also to teach the younger generations of their enduring importance. Maybe the next book will have a granny.

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3 thoughts on “Granny! Except, maybe not.

  1. Fascinating! How we push age away, when it awaits us all (if we’re lucky). Lately I’ve begun to examine how elastic our concept of age is – how it stretches to fit those we know and love. If my father is turning 80, then 80 means something new. If I am 44, then that does not mean what it used to mean. I’m a tad sorry for the archaeologist, but you know, she is probably off enjoying some time with her grandchildren… or else with her much-younger lover!

    1. I know what you mean! My mother and I had babies at the exact same age and I remember what I thought her life was like when I was 13 (full of routine and a winding down of interests) and then I wonder if my 13-year-old thinks my life is like that and it just…can’t be!

  2. When I was a 20 something, we were warned by older 20 somethings to never trust anyone over 30. Mmm how did that work out for the older 20 somethings. LOL Your energetic redhead will seem grandmotherly to the tweenagers (?). Anyone over 21 is old to them.

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