I left Niece M a happy birthday voicemail and as I was doing so, Maga called. She hung up before I finished sending my birthday wishes, and so, left me a message. As I was listening to that, Niece M returned my call. We finished and I dialed Maga.

“Abby, hi!” Maga said. “We didn’t talk last week, so I thought I’d give you a call.”

“We talked! Granted it was a Monday instead of a Tuesday.”

“Oh. Well. How’s your weather?”

“Amazing this weekend. Terrible today. And you? How’s your weather? How are you feeling?”

“Not good.”

“Oh no! Why not?”

“I’m terribly lonely. No one lives nearby except Aunt J.”

“Aren’t my parents there now?”

“Yes, but they’re buzzing around with Aunt J and Uncle P and I’m not so mobile at my age.”

Ah ha, I thought. Maga has FOMO. I see now where my mom and her siblings get it! And then I pondered what they might be doing sans Maga. And then I pondered harder about how to explain they were most likely dismantling Maga’s house because living a long and full life isn’t cheap and Maga’s organs (aside from her knees, which aren’t really organs) are all in tip-top shape for a 98-year-old and so, the funds have to come from somewhere… Or, maybe they’d been there all day with her and her 98-year-old memory isn’t as strong as her heart and lungs, etc. And then I realized I’d gone down a long, quiet trail of thoughts.

“How’s the weather there, Maga?”

“No snow.”

“Brilliant!” Before she could ask me about my weather again, I continued, “Did you know it’s Niece M’s birthday today?”

“Today! Today?”


“Oh. Oh! I’d better give her a call.” Which necessitated 5 minutes of me repeating Niece M’s phone number for Maga and 15 minutes explaining that Niece M did have time to talk if Maga wanted to hang up with me and call now and then 30 seconds of me texting M to alert her of the impending call…

And, weirdly, the conversation ended the way it started. In a three way loop between generations. A birthday girl and a great-granddaughter. An aunt and a granddaughter. A grandmother and a great-grandmother. For, you know, anyone keeping score.

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