I’m 62 years old. My back hurts pretty much every damn day. My neck is stiff. My knees are achy.


I’m Nonni.

I have kids here in my house. Ergo: I must pretend.

Today my little Ellie asked to watch her favorite movie, “Frozen.” I agreed right away because I love the music in this movie. And I love the lesson that it teaches, too. “True love” isn’t necessarily found in the arms of the cute guy who makes you swoon.

True love is found when one truly loves.

Great theme. Great music. Great imagery in the movie.

So when Ellie asked to watch, I was happy to say, “Sure!”


After watching roughly a quarter of the movie, Ellie announced, “I’m done with the movie, Nonni. Turn it off!”

And I did.

Which meant that Ellie came running into the room with her “Elsa dress”, asking me to zip her into the dress and give her “one big braid”, just like Elsa. I did what I was told to do and before I knew it, I found myself playing the role of little sister “Anna” to Ellie’s Queen “Elsa.”

Now, given the fact that we have little Johnny in our care, as well as two small but energetic dogs, we had pretty much the main cast of the movie right in our living room.

“You’re Anna!” Ellie told me. “You need to try to follow me, but I will run away!”

Johnny was given the role of Olaf, the snowman. Lennie was the snowmonster and silly Bentley was put in the role of “Sven” the goofy reindeer.

To be clear, we didn’t actually follow the story line of the movie. But we did spend almost an entire day running up and down the hall in our house, shouting with intense emotion.

“Elsa!” I would yell, “My dear sister!! Don’t leave me!”

“Stay back!!! Stay away!!!!” Ellie yelled back over and over again, “I love you, but I will freeze your heart!”

“ahhhhhha! Mmmmmmah!” Johnny/Olaf crowed every time the two of us ran down the hall.

“Grrffffff..mmmmmmm…..?” the dogs would whine as we ran past them through the house.

This went on for hours. The entire day was taken up with Elsa, Anna, Olaf and the meaning of “true love.”

And as I sit here tonight, my back throbbing and my neck sore, I think I understand what Princess Anna meant when she talked about true love.

I think she meant the joy that an old lady could feel when asked to pretend once again. I thinks she meant the feeling that a Nonni could feel while sitting back and watching her grandchildren completely embrace the role of magical movie characters.

When I held Ellie on my knee today, watching the end of the movie, I was overwhelmed with the magic when she turned and whispered in my ear, “Look, look! That’s me making the ice castle! Look! It’s me sending you away!”

Ellie lived completely within that movie today. She WAS Elsa, the Queen who was afraid of her own emotions. And that let me live for a while as Anna, the Princess who loved and trusted her sister.

What a gift.

What an amazing and incredible gift it is to spend time in the imaginary world of the very young.


Yup. That’s Ellie and me. Looking amazing.

5 thoughts on “Pretending

  1. This is a long shot, Karen, but for the past two years I have had such bad back pain and was up two to four times a night with severe both legs and arms at times. In August, I stopped taking my cholesterol meds (Telmisartan) and almost immediately, the pains stopped and I had more energy than I’d had in two years. A remarkable boost in energy. When I started having cramps now and then again, I stopped drinking diet cola and eating any “light” or “diet” foods sweetened with anything but stevia. So long as I stick to this regimine, I have no back and muscle pains, no cramps. As a lifetime addict to diet colas and someone who always eats foods labeled “Light” or “Diet” when I can, this was harder for me to do than quitting smoking was 24 years ago, especially because I’ve been drinking rum and Diet Coke as my drink of choice since the mid-seventies. Anyway, I thought it warranted sharing with you. I thought my back pain was due to a number of other factors and even suspected I needed a new hip, but I’ve had no pain ever since. Miracle. I only share this with you because you mention some of the same symptoms. I’m nine years older than you, by the way. You young thang.


    • Thank you, my friend! In my case, I have low cholesterol, and have never been a fan of any kind of diet sweeteners. I don’t drink soda. I do drink wine!!! I have fibromyalgia, and the muscle aches of that kind of come and go. I also have never had great posture (although I try!) and the back reacts to that. Thank you for the suggestions: I am always open and eager to hear what helps other people!
      And at our age….nine years is nothing! We’re all in the “who the hell are you young folks to question us” phase of life. Glad you are feeling better!


      • I didn’t want to ask the reasons for your pain so thought I’d just take the chance. Perhaps someone else will read this and have an aha moment. I know fibromyalgia can be excruciating. So sorry. So glad you have playmates to take your mind off of it, though.


      • Oh, thank you, Judy! I’m very lucky; my pain isn’t really an issue most of the time. Sort of more normal achy old ladiness. It just makes a good introduction to a post, LOL!!! But I so appreciate your support!


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