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Trying to measure up
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From the time a person is born to the time he dies, he is attempting to measure up or satisfy someone else’s whims. For example, as a child he attempts to please his parents or his friends. Later, the spectrum of those he must please expands to all in his social strata, work place, and home. The chore of measuring up never ceases.

One night, after teaching all day, cooking supper, and cleaning up the dishes, I took the few free moments to begin making jelly. I was dressed suitably for the effort in shorts because it was so hot. My daughter walked into the kitchen, took one look at me, and said, “You cannot look like that. I have a date.” I agreed that I would put on a pair of slacks. This solution did not suit her at all! I had to take a bath, get dressed in my finest with stockings and a slip, plus apply makeup. Remember, I was not the one who had the date. When he came, I noticed his eyes grow wide -- after all he attended school where I taught in much plainer clothing. I paid no attention but greeted him and went through the motions of welcoming him. Then I redressed in my cooking garb.

When my daughter returned from her date, she was not too enthused about the young boy. She said, “Do you know what he said? He said, ‘I bet you hope you look as good as your mother when you get her age.’” At the time I was in my early 40s or late 30s. I had measured up in his eyes but not in hers!

When my granddaughter started dating and bringing her boyfriend up to ride on the pontoon, use the jet ski, celebrate various holidays, and have meals (cooked by me, of course), I had no idea that I was again being gauged. No idea, that is, until my granddaughter Sarah told me the young man had said if they continued to form a deeper attachment, he knew she would look good in various ages, having seen her mother and me. Sarah was amused; after all, granddaughters are not in competition with their grandmothers; daughters are with their mothers.

While I am not a person who dresses for show, I would never go downtown in short shorts, a bikini or a bathing suit. After all, I have to remember that I must measure up to the standards of my family, friends, and former students.