As the years go by and new experiences arise, I’m learning that there’s such a fine line between dignity and keeping up with appearances. Actually, one is often disguised as the other; pride and caring what other people think is totally a younger generation thing. We might call it dignity, but that’s not what we’re really trying to preserve.
If our loved one doesn’t care about something anymore and is happy and safe, why do we hone in on it? Why do we obsess over their weight or their hairstyle if they no longer give either a second thought? If our nonna is 90 years old and blissfully ignorant to or, even better, accepting of those extra pounds and thankful for the good food she’s enjoyed, why shame her? Why punish her caretakers?
I was recently told about a particularly cheerful, blissfully confused nonna, “My mother would have never let herself get to this weight – she’d be mortified.” Well, thankfully, she’s not, and you shouldn’t be either. Please let it go. The daughter of a friend of hers from down the hall was equally as upset about her mom’s haircut, which looked gorgeous and was even more practical in that it avoided constant hair in her eyes. The nonna herself? She loved the fuss we made over her new ‘do and thought nothing of her fresh look.
Nine times out of 10, the appearances we keep up for others are just that: facades. We don’t look like our filtered selves in real life, sometimes not even close. Our relationships aren’t always strong and loving, they’re broken. We’re not as happy as our Facebook posts depict – sometimes, we’re miserable, and misery loves company. Let your nonna change her hair, dress down, and gain a little weight. If “letting herself go” means giving up the pressures and the pride, embrace and praise her for it. Be open to learning from her example.