Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Grammy Mammy Pants

There are two things that run in my family along the matriarchal line: diabetes, and storing all our fat in the front of our stomachs, resulting in that six-months-pregnant look throughout the year.

Grandma, a diabetic of many years and a great lover of Dr Pepper and Mexican pastries, has finally reached the point of requiring insulin shots. It's kind of sad, but at least it's a tiny needle attached to a self-measuring device that looks like a pen, rather than the giant nail stuck to a glass tube her sister and mother used back in the day. Naturally Grandma has to worry about the usual related ailments, like slow-healing cuts and bug bites, shakiness, confusion, hypertension, and those whacked-out mood swings. Perhaps the strangest symptom of her diabetes has been her constant annoyance at anything squeezing her.

I wish I could count the number of times she's repeated "Diabetics don't like having anything pressing on us." She means things like the shoulder straps of purses, anything with a tight waistband, and overly tight socks (you've not been truly disturbed until you've seen a centenarian in leg warmers and flip-flops). But most of all, she can't stand to wear pants. In fact, I think it would not be a stretch to say she's probably never worn a single pair of pants in all of her 78 years. Elastic waist, jeans, slacks, belted stuff, things held up by suspenders, it doesn't matter, if the thing has a separate hole for each leg and is not a skirt or dress, she won't wear it, clamoring "It hurts, it hurts, I know it hurts, even though I have never tried it on, ever, I know it hurts."

However, for reasons that are bathroom related and are too gross to share with you, my grandma has now been forced to wear pants when she visits doctors' offices and labs.

Just as Grandma was worried about the possibility of giant needle-nails big enough to crucify with, she's also been concerned about the vice-grip waist of the slacks of yesteryear. She seems to forget that modern weighty women do not bother with the girdles and pointy bras of 50 years ago or, so help me, corsets. We would rather buy a larger size with a smaller number and feel comfortable while they trick ourselves into feeling thin.

Be that as it may, Mom and I were still worried that the elastic waistband of some stretch pants might still be too tight for my delicate little old flower of a granny. In fact, I thought it very likely that she'd let my mom buy the pants and then just not wear them. And of all the things that run in my family, the most powerful is the sense of pissed-offed-ness that comes from spending good money on something that isn't going to be used at all.

And then inspiration struck.

Since I inherited the looks-like-a-beer-gut gut, I've found that the easiest way to be comfortable without tossing on sweats is to put on my old maternity jeans. The elastic is a good two inches wide, so I don't have a narrow piece of rubber slicing into my belly, and it rests higher up on the abdomen. There are no drawstrings to stand there and mess with before I sit on the Throne. And the pants actually look nice while still being designed to expand as I need them to. I told Mom all about it.

I wonder if Grandma knows that she and I are basically wearing the exact same preggo pants without either of us actually being pregnant?

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