May 16, 2017

I was walking away from a dinner involving the first people I worked with in Boston + some of my current coworkers. It was later than normal, but due to the public transportation I was headed towards, I didn’t think I’d make it to my quiet apartment before Maga’s bedtime, so I dialed her number on my walk to the T.

I battled other pedestrians and cars and the darkness and not entirely knowing where I was, but we chatted about the weather (3x) and why I was calling so late and who I’d been out with and how she’d talked to my mom and about Maga’s newest grandchild / my cousin once removed (or is it my second cousin?) and it was all the usual topics but in an unusual environment which made me feel normal and more like myself after a night of pretending I was more grownup than I felt.


May 8, 2017

“Abby, dear? This is a surprise.”

“Yes, hi, Maga!”

“Aren’t you a day early? Today is Monday and Tuesday is our day.”

“I am, but I have a work function tomorrow night and by the time I get home, it’ll be too late for me to call.”

“Well, this is certainly nice. Tell me about your weekend.”

I did, happily remembering the crush of crowds and friends and games and laughter.

“Oh, wow,” she said.

My ego bloomed at the praise because I’m not usually good with the oral storytelling.

“We’re having some big storms and that lightning was so bright it came into the living room,” she finished.

And now my ego was hanging out in the darkness the lightning left behind.

“Do you ever get tornados?” I said.

“Not really. The mountains affect them. Keep them from coming. Do you hear that beeping noise?”

“Not exactly. I can hear, well, the absence of noise. Like the phone paused or something. I thought it was maybe your storm interfering.”

“The phone has a low battery,” Maga’s caregiver said. And which I had to repeat 3-4 more times while Maga peppered me with questions about the weather in my neighborhood and why I was calling on a Monday night.

The weather and battery-drained phone were clearly more dramatic than the stories I was telling, so she begged off the call and I was left taking notes on stationary embroidered with her name.

(My mom and Aunt J were cleaning Maga’s house. They’re always cleaning Maga’s house. Maga never throws anything away. Because this stationary had her name/address on it, they put it aside to shred, but my “Maga genes” came into play and I couldn’t leave such grand stationary to a fate like that. Instead, me taking notes on it during our Tuesday calls seems like a much worthier life.)


May 2, 2017

[Author’s note: I was looking through my blog drafts and apparently had written this conversation down 4 years ago but never hit publish. I’m happily doing so now…]

It was a bit later on a tuesday night. I’d just gotten out of the movies and my first duty was to call Maga.

Maga: Oh hi, Abby dear. I was just about to call you.

Me: I’m sorry it’s on the later side. I was in the movies and it just finished.

Maga: What did you see?

Me: It was a movie called THE HEAT.

Maga: *pauses*

Me: It was about two unconventional police detectives who were partnered up.

Maga: Oh, so it wasn’t about the weather?

Me: Nope. A crime/mystery/comedy type of movie.

Maga: Do you think i should see it?

Me: Maybe wait until rental.

Maga: I don’t get out to the movies much these days.

Me: Then this won’t be the one that gets you there.

Maga: So it wasn’t too hot for you? Oh, did you see what I did there? A joke. Ha Ha.

Me: *laughs* Perhaps wittiness is genetic.



May 2, 2017

“Your mother tells me you’re going on a family trip to the beach,” Maga said.

“Indeed we are.” I gave her the pertinent details (not for the first time). “And what about you. Did you like visiting the beach?”

“Oh yes. When I was young, Nana and I would go to the beach every summer. Cape Cod. We’d go for 2-3 weeks. We’d go to the Craigsville Inn. It was very comfy. Have you ever been to the Cape?”

“A couple of times.”

“That was a big part of my summers. I remember it very well. I haven’t been back in dozens of years because it’s not exactly around the corner from Colorado.”

“What was your favorite part of those trips?”

“The sun. The sound of waves splashing up on the beach. It’s very soothing.”

“Did you ever get in the water?”

“I was never a good swimmer. I could swim, of course, but that water isn’t really for swimming.”

“It’s more for bobbing.”

“Why, yes, I guess that’s a good way to describe it.”

Maga’s salty, sandy memories + learning we swim (read: doggie paddle) the same way brightened me on this otherwise gloomy, rainy Tuesday.


April 25, 2017

“Did you see pictures of the newest baby?” Maga said.

“I saw one picture. He’s so cute!”

“I saw some on Aunt J’s phone, but I don’t have any pictures yet in my possession. I think they’ll get me some soon. How many grandchildren do I have?”

“12 grands and now 9 great-grands.”

“And I was an only child!”

“You’ve done good.”

“And there are still people who haven’t produced any.”

I couldn’t duck fast enough. Her barbed comment was a direct hit. “Uh, yeah. You’re talking to one!”

“I might still get more.”

(Sheesh, Maga. Laying it on thick. She has a great-grandbaby that’s barely one week old and already wants more…and I’ve also begun to think she doesn’t need me here to complete this conversation.)

“Have you talked to C lately?” I said. (Yes, yes, it was a desperate attempt to change the subject.)

“Not in some time, no. How many grandkids does she have?”

(And my attempt crashed and burned.)

“She’s got 5,” I said.

“I envy her with all those grandkids so close by. I have more but they’re all so far away.”

I could barely hear her from underneath the rubble of guilt that was piling on top of me. Fortunately, the TV distracted her.

“Oh, it’s [45]. He’s turned out to be different than people thought.”

“Actually, I think he’s exactly how people expected, which is terrifying.”

“I do not like him. Do you?”

“I feel the same as you. Ick.”

“I guess it’s in the bloodstream.”

I loved how she phrased that, but honestly, I’d rather be talking about the kids I haven’t yet produced. But never fear, Maga took control and steered the conversation back to her favorite topic. (Surprisingly, not the weather. Or my phone number.)

“I’ll have to think of some reason to have you all come visit me. Not a funeral though. That would be terrible. I’ll have to keep going. As long as we have our weekly chats, I can keep doing that.”

I feel the same, Maga. Must be in the bloodstream.