Archive for December, 2017


December 12, 2017


“Do you have any upcoming travel plans?” Maga asked.

“Just to Mom/Dad’s for Christmas.”

“Will [Sister J] and Abby be there?”

“Well, I’m Abby, so yes, in fact, I will be there.”

“Oh. Yes. Right.”

“You meant [Sister E]. And yes, she will be there too.”

Maga laughed. “Yes, that’s who I meant.”

“Don’t worry. Everyone confuses our names.”

“So I’m not the only one?”

“Nope. You’re in good company.”

We went round and round about the age gap between Sister E and me (“your mother was brave to have a baby that late in life”), the weather in NE (“you get a lot of moisture up there”), my parents’ recent visit to CO (“they’re such nice people”), their delayed departure (“poor dears”), and my job + how long I’ve worked there (“you are a good employee”) + how many people work with me (“it’s that many?”).

She gets extra forgetful when there’s a change (aka my parents leaving) or some big emotion (sadness), but tonight’s conversation consisted of me doubling back over topics before we’d even reached the end of one. So, yes, dear reader, I admit that during all that repetition and trying to think of different ways to say the same thing, I started keeping track of how often she said certain things: pleasant (5x), nice (17x), and good (8x).

It wasn’t my finest moment as a granddaughter, but maybe the words didn’t matter so much as the company we kept…



December 5, 2017

“What’s the weather like there?” Maga said.

“Raining, but warm.”

“No snow yet?”

“No, thank goodness. It doesn’t usually snow heavily until late in December or early in the new year.”

“I find as I get older I hate the snow. It’s not as fun as when I was younger and could go sledding.”

“Uh, when was the last time you went sledding?”

“Good gosh. Probably 30-40 years ago.”

“Makes sense.”

“What have you been up to lately?”

I took a deep breath. “Well, I need some advice.”

“Okay. Go ahead.”

“My boss is out on vacation and there’s this big meeting tomorrow that I’ll have to attend in his absence. I’m so nervous.”

“Write down a list of the things you want to say and do so you don’t forget. And think about it ahead of time so you know what you want to figure out at the meeting.”

Those are both things I do / will do / have planned to do, so this advice is right up my alley. And before I could ask her for anything further…

“Your mother and father are coming to visit Thursday.”

And just like that, we were back where Maga controlled the topics.

“Yes, they are! What sort of stuff do you have planned for when they visit?”

“Well, not much. I am 96 you know. They will stay at the house and probably clean it out. They cleaned out a lot before I just found out. I hate losing things.”

“But you’re not losing the memories.”

She may have been in control of the topics, but I was able to focus her attention where it mattered.

“Tuesdays are always a bright spot in my life because you call,” she said.

And just like that Maga reminded me that no matter if it was little details or big stories, our calls contained conversations that were evenly balanced.