When I Grow Up I Want to Be an Old Woman

by grafixworks



A song by Michelle Shocked

When I grow up I want to be an old woman
When I grow up I want to be an old woman
Oh, an o-o-o-o-old, an old, old woman…



I first heard this song when it played in a Kaiser Permanente commercial. After seeing the commercial I had to own the mp3. The lyrics really aren’t that extraordinary; but when I listen to that song the imagery and symbolism of that commercial plays in my head. It’s one of the best non-music video I’ve ever seen.

I heard this song again on Sunday while working. As usual, I had my iTunes up and set to shuffle. Everything from Broadway to classical, to old time rock n roll was playing when this song came on. It reminded me that it was Mother’s Day. I couldn’t help but take a moment and reflect on all the mother’s I’ve known in my life. My Oma, mom, mother in laws, sister in laws, aunts, and even my own daughter, they’ve all influenced and inspired me in one way or another.

The woman pictured above was always old in my eyes. She’s my Oma. She was born before World War I, survived the worldwide depression, Nazi Germany, World War II, escaped from behind the iron curtain, immigrated to a foreign land at 40+, and had to live a life she didn’t want. She was a hard woman and never told a happy story, but she loved me. She taught me things she thought I would need to be successful. She taught me to cook and keep house and never accepted just good enough. She’d say, “Moni, no man wants a woman that only does enough to get by.” She was old fashioned. Yes, I learned how to make a kick butt Rot kohl  and goose and my whites were dazzling and you could eat off my kitchen floor but I also learned that mediocre is never acceptable. She may have meant it in context of the domestic arts but it holds true for everything part of my life. Who could compartmentalize like that?

Oma has been gone now for at least 20 years but pieces of her go on in mom, my daughter, and me. Each of us received something different from her. She was a chameleon. She had to be.

I was lucky to have had the opportunity to get to know a really old woman and I can say this with conviction, “When I grown up I want to be an old woman” too.