When I grow old, will I be a regular feature on my children’s social media?
Will my children find me cute enough as a nonagenarian to let my image ride the waves of the internet, opening their arms to comments about me and them and us together?
If my hip or spleen or heart fails, or my sun damage turns more decorative than mild, will they post pictures of me as I accept diagnosis and treatment? As I recover? Will these photos of me at my most and least human, when I’m scared and sick and vulnerable, be scrolled past or stopped on and starred? Will I officially be a virtual trooper or a hero?
Will #TBT show this Old when I was a Young and get responses of “Wow!” and “Check out how hot the Old was!”? Will pictures of me as an Old in forced silly clothes, party hats, and Mardi Gras beads that I wear because my children insist be recognized as “Fun!” and “Cute” by my children’s friends? Will my frown be noticed? Enjoyed? Will my own choice of clothes be applauded as adorable and marching to my own beat, or will my children be told to watch out because I might rebel in ten years?
On special occasions and regular days will my children pose me and squish up next to me and take many pictures to get the right one of us together just “hanging out”? Will that be our connection? Will I love it as much as my children or will I want to wriggle away to claim a little space?
If, as an Old, I am a widow, will my children take pictures of me with male friends, sitting around playing cards or doing crafts and caption us a new “power couple”? “Uh oh! Look out! He’s a player! She’s on the prowl! She’s 4 months older than him…rowr.” Will they laugh and wink if I blush and stomp away in embarrassed frustration?
Will some of my children’s friends quietly mutter and form groups called things like Oldless by Choice? Will these groups express irritation with Olds and laugh at Old Worship and at how some people try to find their identity through elder caregiving and Oh! One Old wrote a check at the grocery store and used coupons and didn’t even know how to ask for coffee at the coffee place that has a menu in bastardized Esperanto? The Olds ask questions and slow down everything and I wish people would stop asking me when I will have an Old. So sick of the pictures of the Olds already! I remember when my friends used to be interesting.
Will my chidren’s visits count if they’re not documented?
Will my bad days, my final days, my last moments be captured and uploaded, saved on a phone, shared with the world?
If I say no, will my children still sneak a picture and caption it “Someone doesn’t want her picture taken!”?
Will my daughter and I get matching pedicures, hers trendier than mine, to the delight of her friends? Will my friends care? Will I? Will my fellow Olds be caught in a wake of photoshoots and Honest Olds tweets for our children to bond over and laugh and nod in appreciative recognition that they are not alone? Will times spent with my own Old friends be handed a “Here Comes Trouble!” tag?
Will my tired requests to be left alone, given privacy, given dignity be shared and punctuated with a saucy “Someone’s cranky!” or will it cause my children to desire a glass of wine at unusual hours? Will my bathroom triumphs and small, hesitant, unassisted steps be marked as life events on a timeline?
Will my words, as they grow more laborious or wiser or garbled be transcribed and illustrated with paintings of sunsets and hearts?
Will my children’s memories of their own youth be independent or will they be filtered through a glossy, buffed platform?
Will we still have a relationship if there is not a screen or a phone between us?
Or will our children do differently?