There were phone calls answered and dropped and initiated and answered. Once we connected…names of newborns and ancient beings were discussed. Similarities abounded. Numbers of great-grandchildren were counted. I was anointed…”Oh gosh, you’re a better adder than I am.” I happily accepted that label. Home improvements were discussed. “I painted a few things but it wasn’t my favorite thing to do. What was? I dunno, but gosh, not painting.” Weather patterns were unraveled. “It’s almost summer. The rain will stop soon.”

My headphones kept cutting in and out. The volume of her TV drowned out our (stilted) conversation. I moved between outdoors and indoors. We were speaking different languages despite using the same words. Tradition kept us close even when technology conspired against us.

“I’m glad I was able to receive your call,” Maga said. No matter the shape, Tuesday nights configure themselves around us and despite the “hardships” that got us to this point, I agreed. We were together. That was enough.

*All quotes were by Maga, 98yo.



“How’s the weather today?” Maga asked.

“It was quite chilly today.”

“How unusual.”

“Actually, unfortunately, it’s not.”

“What do you mean?”

“April is more of a winter month than a spring month.”

“That’s too bad,” she paused, “What are you doing? It sounds like you’re throwing things around.”

“Oh, sorry. I’m making my lunch for tomorrow. I’m multitasking. I didn’t realize it was making that much noise.”

“Well, it’s always good to use your time as much as possible.”

I’d never felt so guilty before for not procrastinating, but I tried to make the rest of my lunch preparations as quiet as possible while we un-ironically talked about how neither of us had much news to share.

“I’m sorry I don’t have anything exciting to report,” I said. “It’s been pretty quiet here.”

“That’s okay. Quiet is better than too much.”

For tonight, it was, especially since I was sporting a tickly, prickly beginning of a cold sore throat and speaking for long stretches wasn’t fun. But even without much to say, the quiet was better together.



“I figured when I didn’t hear from you last week that you were off somewhere,” Maga said.

“I was! I thought my phone would work, so I didn’t warn you. But then I tried to call you and…nothing…”

“I thought you had one of those phones that worked everywhere.”

“Yeah, me too. But since it didn’t work, I wrote you a postcard instead. You should be getting it soon.”

“Thank you! I’ll look forward to that. How was the weather there?”

“Perfect. Sunny. Warm. Lovely.”

“The Caribbean general has pretty good weather.”

“You can say that again.”

“Did you do much swimming?”

“Actually, yes. About half of the days. I’ve never seen water so clear before.”

“How nice.”

“Did you like swimming?” Her pause confused me. I wasn’t sure if she couldn’t hear me or was deep in thought. “You know, when you were younger?”

“Oh, yes. I loved going to the beach, bouncing around in the waves.”

“Did you take many family trips to the beach?”

“Yes. They were special. When you have young children you don’t like to go off and leave them especially, so you take them with you.”

It was my turn to get lost in thought, as I was busy imaging Maga “bouncing in the waves” and my mom on the beach. My mom, who is always doing something, going somewhere, planning something…and who doesn’t enjoy lounging around on the sand.

“Did you get a suntan?” Maga’s voice broke into my reverie.

“No! But then again, I didn’t want one.”

“I suppose it is a weird time of year for a tan.”

“Well that and the sun is dangerous. I didn’t want to expose my skin.”

“Yes, those ultraviolet rays can be trouble.”

“You can say that again.”

“It’s fun that you had a little winter vacation. April is often cold and rainy.”

It’s true. April often has a bit of an identity crisis (is it a winter or spring month?) and so this trip, this break from my real life was oh so needed and the fact that tonight we covered variations of these topics more often than I reapplied sunscreen last week, didn’t bother me as it’s nothing but a joy to journey back to the sun drenched days I spent in St. Maarten.



“Have you spoken to any relatives lately,” Maga asked.

“Not in person, but on text messages and FaceTime, yes.”

“Oh, those phones these days.”

“You got it.”

“Have you spoken to your mother lately? How’s she doing?”

“Busy with the [College] record book.”

“Oh, yes. That is keeping her so busy, isn’t it?”

“Did you work on your [College] reunion record book?”

“No, your mother’s a bit more involved than I am.”

I laughed, but was then struck by the truth of her words. At the honesty. At the authenticity.

[Which I recognized due to all prior conversations + visits + recent chats with my mother and her siblings, which mostly occurred while we were there for her 98th birthday.]

Grandparents can be more honest with their grandkids because there’s a level of distance there. You can be a more authentic version of yourself because you don’t have to be perfect, because you’ve had time to come to terms with yourself, because you’re not the one in charge. It’s the same as being an aunt/uncle. [Which rocks!] You can support the younger generation while knowing they’re in the best hands – their parents’ – so all you have to do is provide the fun, the sunshine, the love.