My husband John, my son Greg, my mom and I were watching my mom’s favorite show, Jeopardy, when she made a comment about a contestant. “He’s interesting-looking, don’t you think?”
Eyebrows raised, she waited for a response.
Greg, who was a bit confused by what she meant, said nothing.
John, who was also a bit confused by what she meant, said nothing.
I said nothing, because I was beginning to sweat and my brain was screaming “DON’T GO THERE!”
Finally I spoke up, only because Greg and John were getting more perplexed by the second.
“What Grammy means to say is that she finds him unattractive.”
“Ooooh,” said Greg, laughing and blushing a bit. After a childhood filled with many comments from my mom like “How did they pick her as the TV lottery girl, look at her legs,” or “She’s trying for Miss America with THAT nose?,” I had always tried to teach my kids not to judge a book by its cover. But since my mom has moved in, they have been privy to her comments — and although they find them funny coming from an otherwise complacent and forgetful 88-year-old, it puts them (and me) on edge a bit.
“Oh my gosh,” John exclaimed. “I had totally forgotten that “He is interesting-looking” is Josephine-speak for “I find him unattractive.”
My mother simply smiled and looked once again toward the TV screen, as if by saying this out loud we were agreeing with her assessment. She seemed pleased that her powers of observation were still intact, and she was still able to point out the unattractive members of society. Part of me wanted to give her a hearty pat on the back for retaining at least some of her “spark,” and part of me wanted to shake her and yell “Snap out of it!” Somehow I managed to maintain a neutral expression and focus on the game.
Later on as we did the dishes, Greg and I shared a laugh and shook our heads at my mom’s comment.
“I grew up with that stuff, you know.”
“Explains a lot, mom,” said my son of few words.