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A Growing Concern

Are growing pains in adults another indignity of aging? Writer Janie Emaus learns a lesson only a grandson can teach. Read more from Janie Emaus on her blog,

When I was a preteen (a tween in today’s speak) I used to stretch out on my back, stare at the ceiling and try to fall asleep. But the pains running up my leg would make it impossible.

“You’re having growing pains,” my mom would say and she would massage my muscles for a few minutes. Finally, I would drift off into dreams where I wasn’t the shortest person in the room or the last one picked to play on a basketball team.


I didn’t feel any taller the next day or the day after or the day after that. In fact, for all my growing pains, I didn’t get very tall at all.

My daughter experienced the same sort of pains and she’s even shorter than I am.

Although it did seem like she outgrew her clothes rather quickly, sometimes overnight.

Now my grandkids are experiencing these very same achy muscle symptoms.

The other night while reading to my grandson, I got a cramp in my toe. I had to pull it towards me, all the while, explaining to my grandson why I was exhibiting this unusual behavior. But, fact is, he found it all very normal.

“It’s growing pains, Grandma,” he said, matter-of-factly. “I get a hundred million every day.”

“Well, I don’t think my toe is still growing,” I said.

“Is it aching up your leg?”


“Yep, growing pains.” There was no doubt in his young mind.

So, I just kissed him goodnight and went in search of tonic water.

He was correct, in a way. My pain was associated with “growing” but instead of growing up, it was connected to growing older.

If it’s not tonic for the leg cramps, it’s an aspirin for my sciatic nerve or a shot of cortisone for my trigger thumb.

There’s no way around it. As we grow older, things change. Gravity brings our breasts closer to our belly buttons. We develop under arm flab, which is mentally painful to look at, although not physically painful, unless it gets caught in a button.

We need glasses to see the fine print, so as not to strain our eyes. Hair grows in unwanted places, such as our chin (yes-I have one very long one, which is painful to pull out!) And God knows what body parts start talking to us in the middle of the night.

To my grandson, my skin is crinkly, my hair wiry. I might as well be a Grandmasaurus.

Because everyone knows the pre-laptop, iPod and cell phone days were the dinosaur days.

With my leg cramp under control, I went back to check on my grandson. My heart swelled as I watched him sleep.

Yes, there is a conglomeration of aches and pains, but growing older is so much more than that.

Janie Emaus

Janie Emaus is the author of the time travel romance, Before the After, and the young adult novel, Mercury in Retro Love. She has an essay in the Best Selling humor anthology, You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth. She is a staff writer at In The Powder Room. She is proud to be named a 2013 BlogHer Voice of the Year . Janie believes that when the world is falling apart, we're just one laugh away from putting it together again. To learn more about Janie visit her blog and her website Janie Emaus. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @Janie5010.

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Dr.Margaret Rutherford

Thursday 22nd of May 2014

What fun Janie and a wonderful reframe, as we say in psychology! I like so many others in this group much prefer to keep on having those pains! Thanks!


Tuesday 20th of May 2014

My granddaughter describes them as 'Oh, my feelings!'. Now I know that my 'feelings' are really growing pains. And in spite of everything, I do like it!

Janie Emaus

Tuesday 20th of May 2014

I love that!

Tam Warner Minton

Tuesday 20th of May 2014

Growing pains? How cute! And I'm sure you aren't a dinosaur to him!

Janie Emaus

Tuesday 20th of May 2014

Well, I don't know about that. I think anyone over 20 is old to him!

Helene Cohen Bludman

Tuesday 20th of May 2014

I'd like to think of them as growing pains and not aging pains! I'm with your grandson.

Janie Emaus

Tuesday 20th of May 2014

Little minds sometimes have the biggest and best ways of looking at life, don't they?

Ruth Curran

Tuesday 20th of May 2014

Thank you for putting that all in a better perspective! Loved it and tweeted!

Janie Emaus

Tuesday 20th of May 2014

Thanks you Ruth!

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