I was at my kids' school carnival last week, watching my kindergartner bouncing in the jumpy-thing and making small talk with the woman standing next to me when the G-bomb dropped: "is that your grand-daughter?"
A surprised "Ha!" escaped my mouth before I quickly composed myself and replied laughingly "no, that's my daughter."
Horrified by her social faux pas, she slunk away and I never saw her again.
This is the second time I've been asked if I'm the grandparent of my own kids. The first was seven years ago in Texas. I was 41 and my son was three. And it didn't really phase me because Texas has the fifth largest teen pregnancy rate in the country, and there - most mothers of small children are a good 20 to 25 years younger than me.
But to be asked that question in San Francisco was a bit stunning. When I was pregnant with my daughter at age 42, my OB/GYN said I was one of her younger patients. Most of the parents we've met at playgrounds and schools who are now our friends are in their 40's and 50's...with a few 30-somethings and 60-somethings tossed in there.
Actually, I forgot about the G-word incident until I heard about 60-year old Frieda Birnbaum of New Jersey, who had just given birth to twins - the oldest American to ever do so. Frieda, a psychologist, and her 63-year old husband Ken, a New York City attorney, have three other children: sons ages 33 and 6, and a daughter age 29.
"I have more of an urge now to be a nurturing parent, than I did when I was younger, Birmbaum said this week on ABC's Good Morning America. In the same interview, Birnbaum says "I guess it's about empowerment."
Funny - but "empowerment" is not a word that comes to mind when people explain the emotional reasons behind their decision to have a baby.
As women have gained more professional and personal "power" over the past few decades, the ages of women giving birth have increased.
In my case, I didn't find my mate and marry until my mid-30's, and we struggled awhile trying to have children until it just happened. I've always been happy that I was able to achieve my career goals before having children, because it allowed me to focus on my family and I was less conflicted about the choices I've made.
On the other hand - I would have really loved to have been younger when all this happened, and have three children. And although technically we still could - my husband and I admit that we just don't have it in us to go back to that "baby" place.
"Age has been redefined," 60-year old Frieda Birnbaum told The Boston Globe this week while she cradled her newborn twins - sounding more like a Dove commercial than a woman about to take home two babies who need constant feeding, changing, burping, holding, jiggling, rocking, etc..etc...etc...
Better her than me.
How old do you think is too old to have babies? Click below on "Comments" and tell us what you think - or share your own story about being an older/younger parent.
Mommy had a little baby.
There he is fast asleep.
He's just a little plaything.
Why not wake him up?
Cute. cute. little baby.
Little feet-feet,little toes.
Now he's comin' to me.
Crawl across the kitchen floor.
Baby, baby, please let me hold him
I wanna make him stay up all night...
Monday: Goin' Campin'. Have a great Memorial Day holiday.