It really wasn’t meant to be an insult.
I thought she’d be flattered.
I was wrong.
My eldest daughter, then aged 22 months, and I were manoeuvringour stroller through the doctor’s waiting room.
It wasn’t crowded, but a few people had decided to stand, rather than sit.
A very few.
Okay, one woman was standing in the aisle apparently trying to decide if she was staying or leaving.
That’s okay with me; I’ve done the same thing more times than I care to count.
After a moment, she realized that we were behind her, waiting to pass.
“Excuse me!” she said and moved to one side.
“No worries!” I said.
Because that’s what I always say. It’s not original, I know, but it gets the job done.
Moving on . . .
At that moment, my aforementioned daughter looked up and saw this woman. Her little face broke into a sunshine sort of smile. “Gramma!” she crowed, holding out little, soft arms.
The woman stared at her, aghast.
It’s an expressive word – aghast.
It describes the look on the well-bred, perfectly-groomed face . . . ummm . . . perfectly
Truly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone more shocked.
My own smile . . . slipped a bit.
The woman’s head drew back and her upper lip curled slightly. She took in a large, indignant breath. “I AM NOT A GRANDMA!” she said.
Everyone in the office turned to look at us.
I felt my face grow hot.
Trying to salvage something from the unfortunate exchange, I stuttered out an, “I’m so sorry. She has a very pretty young grandma!”
I didn’t know what else to say.
The woman gave an indignant sniff and marched out of the waiting room.
“Gramma!” my daughter wailed, arms still reaching.
Another sniff as the door was firmly shut.
Crimson with embarrassment, I sank into the nearest chair and bent over my daughter.
To the woman in the doctor’s office: You really were lovely and beautifully dressed and groomed. I’m not quite sure why my daughter’s affectionate greeting hurt you so badly. Although I’m fairly certain you were very near to my own mother in years, I don’t think it was a comment on your age. It must have been your resemblance to one of the kindest, most beautiful women I’ve ever known.
I wish you could have taken it for the extraordinary compliment it was . . .