Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Warning: Diva alert

Yesterday, my sister Norma Jean sent me this picture of Lexie, showing that this young lady is going to be dangerous in a couple of decades. Or sooner. Capturing hearts right and left, she's simply adorable! As many of you know, Lexie is my grand-niece, Norma Jean's only grandchild, and truly one of the New Generation. She was conceived using donor sperm and is being raised by a single parent, my niece Allison. I wrote all about it here. I was planning on editing the picture to remove the warning label, but after giving it some thought, I decided to use it as part of the title of this post.

Because of the wonders of technology, I get to see Lexie and her mom on video chat fairly often. She's a toddler now, smart as a whip, and growing by leaps and bounds. Since I talk with Norma Jean two or three times a week on iChat, we swap stories of our lives as well as pictures. She couldn't wait to show me this one. It's definitely a keeper, don't you think?

Today I met a new friend at the coffee shop. I was meditating on this picture while sipping my coffee, and a young dark-haired woman sat down in the adjoining chair. She's obviously in her early twenties, if not younger, and I was thinking about the passage of time, as I often do. Lexie is growing up so fast, but as she ages, so do I. The woman caught me staring at her, and she held my gaze, looking right back at me. I decided to start a conversation. "I was just wondering: when you look at me, do you see an old woman?" She studied me for a moment and shook her head. This began a conversation about how older people become invisible, and she introduced herself to me as Alana (or Ilana, I'm not sure of the spelling). She's indeed 21 and finished her education last fall, majoring in theater, which I find really interesting. I almost asked if I could take her picture for the blog, but instead I gave her my card and told her that if she's interested she could read what I write and even leave a comment if she wants.

Alana (I like that spelling) is working at the YMCA right now and is hoping to be accepted into the Peace Corps. I remember when that was something I considered doing, long ago, and she reminded me that I still can if I choose to. This began a conversation about travel; I am reluctant to travel any more, but she's looking forward to discovering the world and different cultures. She's at the beginning of her adventures, and I am content to be settling into my easy chair (after a good workout, of course).

It was time for me to catch the bus, so we said goodbye. I hope to see her again. What was most amazing to me is that during the conversation, her assurance and direct gaze made me feel I was in the presence of an old soul. Her image keeps creeping back into my mind. When I was her age, I was nowhere near as confident and self-assured as she is. The women's movement hadn't even begun in the early sixties when I was her age. It gives me confidence that we are indeed making some forward progress. Lexie, what will the world be like when YOU turn twenty-one?


  1. The world is her oyster! Lexie might be a traveler to planets in outer space, who knows. Outer space is the next frontier. She is so pretty in that photo, a keeper for sure. At 21, I was a wild one. Amazing I graduated from college in 4 years... Lol.

  2. This post leaves me filled with hope for the future. I'm so glad that today women who choose not to marry do not have to remain childless because of their decision. That baby is precious and it would be hard to find one more loved and supported.

    That young woman also gives me hope for the future. Not all young people are purposeless drifters. It's so nice to hear about the ones who'll be the leaders of tomorrow.

  3. A heart breaker, than one! Great photo. I feel the passage of time acutely when I look at my 22 year old daughter.

  4. Wow, Lexie is growing up fast, and you are right, she looks like she'll be a force to be reckoned with. The young women who attended the college where I worked were astonishing in their abilities and confidence. They still have some battles to fight (especially if they live in states that are trying to roll back the clock) but they make me proud that we fought the battles we did during the Women's Movement.

  5. Lexie is a doll!
    I've met a couple of young women like Alana who seemed otherworldly because of their wanting to talk to someone such as myself, older and different, and their ability to understand people and have a strong interest in them. For me, it is rare to meet such people and I always wonder how they got to be who they are. What were their mothers like?

  6. i love meeting folks like these. when i met my niece when she was about 4 yrs old, she looked at me so intently, like she was studying me. i bent down and whispered to her 'who are you?' as she was most certainly an old soul that had known me before. :)

  7. smiles...what a cool little one...i love kids and making friends with them while i am out and about...

  8. Oh your Lexie is a doll! What a gift she is to you and Norma Jean!
    You made new friend..good for you. I hope she reads your blog..she would be very lucky to visit with you again!! :)

  9. One thing I can tell you is that I had no vision whatsoever of the future. Computers? Had no idea what they would do in the future. somehow we can look at a young child and see some future for them. But for myself? I can't see what it will be like to be 80.

  10. Pretty Lexie has a good role model in her great-aunt DJan! I've met a few young women that amaze me too!

  11. OH gosh...Lexie is so adorable. She sure has grown....and time seems to have flown by so quickly. Diva for sure!

  12. The warning label fit the post perfectly. She is a charmer!!

    The new young lady sounds like a really interesting person. Times have changed so much. I think women today do have so much more confidence and opportunities. Nobody is telling them they have to be a housewife, nurse, waitress, or teacher. We didn't have a lot of choices even when I was young at the start of the women's movement. It's really exciting, I think. Imagine Lexie's world!! Wow! :):)

  13. I really enjoyed reading this post. Your Lexie is a charmer, and reminds me of my granddaughter Irene, who should also have a warning label.
    But I especially loved that you had the courage to ask that question. "What do you see when you look at me?" And what a wonderful conversation it led to!

  14. What a nice post, Jan. It sure gives hope that the world will be left in cofident.. hopefully competent hands. And what could go wrong when you look into the beautiful face of a child with heart-shaped glasses? :)

  15. Lexie is absolutely adorable! That photo is definitely a keeper. Those glasses are a hoot. I'd love to find one for my granddaughter.

    I do think this new generation gives us much hope. My son and his Sarah were in the Peace Corps in Mali and would be very sad to hear what is happening now.

  16. Lexie is an absolute doll. Those sunglasses and hat are just perfect for her facial expression.

    An interesting meeting you had with this young woman DJan. If not for the work so many of us did in the sixties she might be on a different path now. We have vet students who work with us sometimes at the spay/neuter events and they are about her age. We work side by side with no thought of age just the learning experience on both sides.

  17. Hello DJ!

    It was really quite extraordinary to meet you. I wish we'd had more time to talk about age and the future and things that you've experienced on your travels and as a mother.

    I spend most of my time at the YMCA with the youngest of us, and it seems much more difficult to connect with those that have been alive the longest... I appreciate your willingness to connect with me! I've certainly faced a fair amount of ageism in my daily life; you are refreshing and inspiring.

    Please, email me if you'd like to get together on purpose some time!



  18. I trust you got an honest answer from her. Most people wouldn't say if they thought of you as an old woman, when asked directly. I distinctly remember a time when I was perhaps fifty and sitting in a coffee shop watching people walk by the window, and I saw a group of young people. And all of a sudden I realized I was not one of them. I had been thinking I was a young person, and I realized I didn't know what they were thinking about, or worried about, or talking about. I had no idea.

    Since I feel about eight, inside and out, I get caught up short when I see photos of myself.

  19. Oh my gosh....what a darling DIVA she is. That Lexie will be a man's heart throb in no time flat. Simply adorable.

    As for your conversation with the younger gal, I find this oh so very interesting. Your first question just blew me away. Mainly 'cause how often have I thought that myself...wondering just what goes through a young heart and mind when the see us 'older' folk. I really enjoyed reading this.

    And if she ever decides to visit with you on your blog...please let us know. I would find it most enjoyable to read what she has to say in her own words.

    Lovely post.

  20. She's a beautiful young lady. Little girls are so cute with their accessories. I'm interested to see how long my granddaughter, who is almost 7, will live in the land of pink and sparkles. I'm thrilled to watch the little ones grow but it also is sad that it happens so fast.

  21. Dear DJan, . . . Your posting today sent me thinking about my great-great nephews and nieces, all of whom are between four and ten years of ago. As you said so beautifully, life has changed, especially for women, in the years we've walked this earth.

    What will life here be for the children now growing up? I hope always there will be love and acceptance and a growing self-awareness and compassion within each and every child.


  22. Gosh, I read this post this morning and thought I'd sent you a note - ooops, must be my age. ha,ha
    Am I on your bucket list yet :)
    Loved this post DJan - Alana sounds like a wonderful young woman and certainly gives a spark of hope towards the leaders of our futures. I have met a few Alana's myself oot n aboot n let me tell you - these were some of my most interesting conversations.
    Lexie says everything in her photo - love it - thank you for adding a bright spot to my snowy day - yep, I said snow :)

  23. I, too, wonder what the world will be like for my granddaughters, who are 7 and 8 right now......
    Great post.
    Congrats on POTW.

  24. Interesting reflections. I often wonder how my life would be different if I knew then what I know now...

  25. lovely reflections ... i feel the same beautiful spirit flowing through all three of you <3

    congrats on potw :)

  26. What a little heart-breaker that little precious diva is gonna be.

    The young lady sounds amazin'! Just goes to show ya, we've come a long way baby!!!

    God bless and have a blissful kinda day! :o)

  27. Lexie is a beautiful child and in a parallel universe, the ideal playmate for Dylan, don't you think. I love her sunglasses and hat. She looks so chic.
    Congratulations on your gorgeous grand niece and thank you for sharing her with us.


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