It was one of those early Michigan spring days when the world had just begun to defrost and come back to life. I was in college, heading home from class. The sun was shining and the flowers were blooming, so I decided to take the long way home to walk through the campus gardens.
The more I walked, the happier I felt. “The sun, so warm on my face! The trees, bright with budding leaves! Chirping birds – are they singing just for me?”
As I rounded the path through the garden, I came upon a sweet group of children from the campus daycare. Tottering about, they were giggling and looking at flowers.
“Children!” I thought. “Just beginning to bud themselves, like these beautiful daffodils!”
Just then, an adorable little girl looked up at me. She had curly blonde pigtails and a puffy pink coat. Her eyes warmed when she saw me, and I smiled back. This was such a wonderful day.
“Kids!” I thought. “Even kids (who until this point had made me generally uneasy) like me today!”
A gentle breeze blew through my hair. “Yes world, I feel great. I feel beautiful! Hair flowing, smile growing, so youthful, the world at my fingertips!”
As I walked toward the girl, she kept staring at me. When I approached, standing just in front of her, she never broke her gaze. “Hi!” I smiled at the girl. Her eyes widened.
“She must think I’m beautiful,” my narcissistic 20-year-old self said to myself. “And if I’m being honest, I do look pretty good today. So fashionable! So fit. Vibrant, really. I -”
“Grandma?” the girl interrupted my thoughts, pointing her finger at me.
“Teacher! That’s my grandma!” Her proclamation reverberated across campus.
Excuse me? So much for youthful vibrance.