“Didn’t you tell the weatherman that was too hot?” Maga asked.

“I tried. He didn’t listen.”

“I guess not. I don’t like it when it’s that hot.”

“But you also don’t like it when it’s too cold either.”

“That’s true.”

“Would you rather it be too hot or too cold?”

“Too cold, I guess because when it’s too cold you can go inside and get warm, but when it’s that hot, it’s very difficult to cool off.”

“Yeah, I guess I do agree with that.”

“What else have you been up to?” Maga asked.

“Let’s see. It’s been rather quiet. But there’s softball. Playoffs are happening this week.”

“Do I remember you’re a pitcher?”

“You do!”

“Good for you.”

“Good for you.” I echoed.

Sometimes her memory astounds me and I can’t help but be a cheerleader for her. We then careened around variations of the same conversation of sports vs. how quiet it’s been vs. how hot vs. when was I coming to visit her.

“Umm, I was just there two weeks ago!” (Memory fading…)

“Oh, I guess you were. I suppose it’s too close to that to expect you to stop by again.”

“I mean I’d love to. My wallet, however…”

“I really enjoyed your visit when you were here.” (Reader, I doubted the truth of the statement she made…)

“It was a really fun visit. I got to see you 3x.”

“And how was the Reunion thing? What did you do?”

“We had meals and a meeting and games and free time to hang out. [Niece M] and I went out on the lake.”

“Is she the youngest?”

“The oldest.”

“Seems like they all have 3 kids.”  (Memory improving…)

“Seems that way.”

“Who else of Cathy’s kids has 3?” (Memory improving + fading…)

(Reader: Cathy is my mom. Maga knows better than to refer to her as Cathy in front of me, but she’s not wrong about 3 being a common choice for number of children.)

“[Brother G], [Sister J]. How many kids do you think [Sister E] has?”

“She has zero. As do you.”

I chuckled. Her memory always seems to suss out just when I’m testing her. It’s nice when it’s super quiet here and I don’t have any stories to regal her with to be able to liven up the conversation with some playful banter.



“Once you’ve arrived at the airport, how do you get to the next place?” Maga asked.

“My house?”

“Yes. Do you take a taxi to your lodging?”

“Sure do.”

“Do you have any more trips planned?”

“Not in the immediate future.”


“What did you do today?”

“Oh, not much. It was a quiet day.”

“Those are necessary some days.”

“Yes. Some days are rushing days and those aren’t as fun as the quiet ones.”

“I’ve got a bunch of quiet ones in my near future.”

“I guess so after a trip like you just had. You need to catch up.”

“You got it.”

“Did Aunt J stop by today?”

“Yes, she did. She had such an interesting gadget with her to show me the pictures. Like a TV screen.”

“Her phone?”

“It was connected to it.”

“Oh, I think you mean her iPad.”


“Maga, you have one of those!”

“I do?”

“Yes. It’s got a red cover and is sitting next to your TV.”

“Oh, why yes. I do see something like that on top of the TV stand.”

Looking at the TV tore her attention away from our discussion and lodged it on the “crazy creatures” on screen. Admittedly, the break in conversation was a relief from answering the “do you have any upcoming trips” question, which she asked no less than nine times in the span of five minutes and which I’ve edited out of this post for brevity.

Having just seen her three times over the course of four days showed me why she often gets stuck on one particular topic. Her mobility is severely limited and as such she’s often within her small apartment. The TV broadens the room a bit, so I can’t fault her for often tuning into it while we’re talking. Her memories would expand the room as well, but her memory’s definitely not what it used to be and so she focuses on the present, which more and more often resets every minute or so.

Hard as the truth of 98 is, gratitude at the opportunity to know this about her and to have recently seen her warmed me as I answered in a variety of ways that, “no, I do not have any upcoming trips planned.”

“Come again anytime,” Maga said. “You know the route.”

I’m not sure if she heard, but I do happen to have a rather empty calendar… ;)




Maga dropped two pearls of wisdom tonight:

“Be patient and wait for something good to happen.”

“Let’s speak up and get it straightened out.” + “If we speak up together, maybe they’ll be more accommodating.”

The first was in relation to work, but it could be a lens to look at my (lack of) dating life. The second was regarding the details of my father’s family tree, but I’m choosing to hear it as us women need to stick together and raise our voices to get the equality we, and those who come after us, deserve.

Sometimes it’s not the little things, but the big things she says that I can file away. And sometimes it’s not the big moments, but all the little ones we spend “together” that add up to a big story.



“It’s terrible when you pick up a bug when traveling,” Maga said. “When you’re out and about and meeting people.”

“I actually feel mostly fine now. I just sound terrible.”

“You sound okay on the phone.”

“That’s probably because my voice is deeper and you can hear this register more easily than my normal voice.”

“I suppose that’s true.”

“Hey, did you watch any of the women’s world cup final?”

“Is that soccer?”

“Yes. I’m guessing you didn’t watch it?”

“When is it?”

“It was Sunday.”

“This Sunday or it already happened Sunday?”

“It was yesterday.”

“Who played?”

“The whole world.”

“Who won?”

“THE US!!!” My voice broke and scratched and lost all noise.

“What an athletic world we live in.”

“Oh, hey, Wimbledon started. Have you watched any of that?”

“It’s on now?”

“Well, not right now.”

“What TV station is on?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t have the TV on. And it’s not on right now. It’s super late night there.”

“Oh, yes. When we’re in bed sleeping, they’ll start playing again.”

“You got it.”

We transferred to upcoming travel plans, some of which involve seeing her. The details were explained and spelled out, as her memory became less crisp.

“Is Abby coming?” Maga asked.

*pause* “I’m Abby.”

*pause* “Oh, why yes you are. I’m a bit addled this evening.”

“It happens. It’s nothing to be worried about.”

“I meant is [Sister E] coming too?”

“She is.”

“I’m so lucky you’ll be here. I’ve been here such a long time.”

“That you have.”

“Let’s see. Jobo got the job in two thousand fifteen.”

“Umm, that was four years ago…” Laughter started to fizzle.

Maga chuckled nervously. “Maybe it was one thousand fifteen?”

And then it bubbled over (albeit silently due to this weird bout of laryngitis), but apparently Maga could hear it because she let loose her own peal of laughter. “Oh dear I am all foozledee and mixed up this evening.”

“That’s how I always feel when attempting math. Let’s just agree that you’ve lived there for a wonderful lifetime.”

Sometimes math carries all the answers and weight, but sometimes words do it instead.



We covered the usual topics: weather, work, my current location, travel, etc when the volume of the TV led me down a different path.

“Have you watched any of the women’s soccer?”


“The Women’s World Cup. They had the first semi-final today. The US won!”

“Is it an international game?”


“Where is it being played?”


“[Aunt J] and [Uncle P] are going to France next week. [Aunt J] told me yesterday.”

“To see family?”

“Yes. I think he gets lonely and misses his family.”

“I think you’re probably right. We all know what it’s like to miss family!”

“Have you seen any of your family members recently?”

I repeated my tales of my most recent trip, which involved all of my nieces and nephews.

“They’re all growing up sooner or later,” Maga said. “You can’t prevent it.”

Ain’t that the truth.

“I’ll be seeing some of your family members soon.”

“And me too,” I reminded her.

“Oh, you’re coming as well??”

“I am.”

“It’s been a long time since I saw you.”

I counted the months since her birthday. “Four months. It’s a long time and it’s also not.”

“You came for my birthday?”

“Yup. Fifth year in a row.”

“It’s been too long since I’ve seen you.”

Maga was right about that. Long days, short months. It expands when you’re younger and shrinks when you’re older. Time is weird. But fortunately, a couple of weeks should pass by quickly so we’ll be in the same time zone before we know it.