Image 01

Grandma Jane Meets Oprah, Part I: “Growing Up Every Day”

December 23rd, 2010 by Melinda Blau

Oprah hosted Jane Fonda today–what a pair.  Jane, ever the chameleon has run through Barbarella, Hanoi Jane, Jane the serial wife, workout Jane, and now introducing….Grandma Jane.   And then there’s Oprah, who is one of the most visible and powerful woman on the cultural landscape.  She has few peers; Jane is one of them.

But this post is about Grandma Jane (although I don’t think she’s called “Grandma”)–Jane in a new phase of life.  I, who went kicking and screaming into this phase, can relate.  It’s a time that comes too soon, a passage, if you will, that whispers in your ear, “No matter what you see in the mirror, you’re the older generation now.”   But, at the same time, it’s also a time that brings unparalleled moments of love and delight.

When Jane talked to Oprah about the first few days after her first grandchild’s birth, how it “broker me open,” it brought me back.  I was in awe of my grandson when I first saw him in the hospital, but it was when he came–and I could hold him for more than a minute or two–that I fell in love with him.  Me, someone who never sits still could suddenly relax into long swaths of time with this little tiny miracle of a boy in my arms, staring into his eyes.  I could just be.

Holding a grandchild is the ultimate luxury, I now know, an intense and invigorating  feeling I never could have imagined.   And it gives way to more unexpected moments.   Today, I smiled at the TV as Jane tried to describe that feeling to Oprah.  I understood the look on her face.

I’ve always liked Jane Fonda, even when she was a caricature of herself–a hazard of living your life out in public.   She’s always been smart, articulate, creative, honest, and competent.   Over the years, she’s run the gamut of Everywoman experiences–from sex object to septegenarian.   And now, as Grandma Jane it all comes together–some regrets but no apologies.  She realizes, as we all do as we slouch toward old age–that she’s in a profound stage of life–a time to revisit the past, take stock, clear out the clutter, forgive, and try to figure out what’s really important.

At the end of the interview, Oprah reminded Jane of quote she has given O e magazine several years ago. I hope I remember it correctly:

To do life right, you have to act as if you’re growing up every day.

Perfectly put–and true.  Thanks, Jane. You’ve got that right.

(See also Part II, Score One For Ageism.  To come: Part III, about Jane and daughter.)

Tags: , ,

One Response to “Grandma Jane Meets Oprah, Part I: “Growing Up Every Day””

  1. […] Contact « Grandma Jane Meets Oprah, Part I: Growing Up Every Day […]

Leave a Reply