[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.




“Do you have the tennis matches on?” Maga asked.

“Oh, no. I don’t. I just walked in the door.”

“Tennis was my game. I loved to play. Look at those girls. Are they ever good. Serena seems to be ahead, so that’s good to see. Boy that was a good shot. Right down the alley.”

“They do know what they’re doing! My mom, dad, Aunt J and Uncle P are going to the games this weekend.”

“Oh, yes. I saw J today. She leaves tomorrow.”

“I went to the US Open once and man was it fun. I had a blast!”

“Now they’ve got some men on. Boy are they fast. Oh he just hit it out.”

“How long did you play tennis for?”

“I started in college and then …. that shot was out. I shouldn’t be talking to you and watching this at the same time….My goodness, these men are efficient.”

“How is the game different than when you played?”

“It’s so different. We just played on outside courts. Now they have kind of inside courts that are open on the top but…Now we’re back with the ladies. Serena Williams vs. the Russian.”

“You’re clearly enjoying the games. I’ll let you go so you can watch them.”

“Oh, no. I so look forward to our Tuesday chats. I’m glad we have them in common.”

“How was your day today? What did you do?”

“I went to the doctor because I fell this weekend and had to get an x-ray taken.”

“Oh no! Are you okay? What did you hurt? Are you in much pain? Can you walk?”

“I sit in a wheelchair most of the day. Other times I use a walker. I don’t lay around in bed all day, so that’s something. I get out and around…My these girls are good at tennis. I wish I could do that. But at my age, I guess it’s not an option.”

She sure was running circles around me.


adventures of cathy and abby

It’s fortunate my mom has a grand sense of adventure because foot surgery is not for the faint of heart, especially, and including, the caregiver(s).

I learned to walk using crutches. Then a walking cast. It was a momentous day when 18 days post surgery I reached the bottom of my parents’ driveway. Checking the mail has never been so exciting. Mom learned the art of city driving and how to find and claim a parking spot on the street. She also figured out how to use a pedestrian in the crosswalk as a means of blocking traffic so she could make a turn.

I learned how to be patient, how to be dependent, and how to ask for help. Those were tough lessons. Mom learned my kitchen, my front staircase, my back staircase, the laundry machines in the basement, my neighborhood.

I learned the angles of my studio apartment and the places crutches could fit and how not to rest them against the doorway because they’ll crash onto the floor and at 3am it’ll sound like a gun shot and what my bed feels like after 23 hours in it. Mom learned the contents of my “pantry” and my fridge and could whip up a meal or snack to satisfy her pain addled daughter.

I learned how to install two different DVD players. Mom learned how to install a new toilet seat. Which she did like a boss!

Mom learned how to eat at the bar. And how to order a drink not on the menu. And how to turn down a free drink and then be told it’s on the house. I learned I can still drive because my right foot is healthy. It’s my left that (was) encased in the cast / walking cast.

I learned how important physical and mental balance are. Everyone had to walk on eggshells around my physical immobility and emotional instability. That lesson re: patience came in handy here. Mom had many of her own questions about my recovery, the prognosis, and the eye glasses my doctor was wearing when he removed the stitches. He was quite chatty during that appointment.

Mom: That was nice of him to share so much about his travels.

Me: I thought it was a bit much.

Mom: I mean it was kind of him to spend so much time with you.

Me: It’s probably because he has a crush on you.

Mom: *laughs* If you say so. I thought it was cute you instructed him to give you bad news so I’d stay longer.

It’s true. This was the one time I wished for bad news so there’d be a reason for Mom to stick around and have more adventures.



“It’s a small one. Smaller than the others, but it’s staying.”

These words filtered through my window as the repair guys measured and argued outside my office. Despite the fact their discussion was infinitely more interesting than the invoices I was paying, their words lingered because it’s something my parents might have overheard at the hospital 35 years ago.

I was a small one. (2lb 6oz) (3 months early). Smaller than the others (other children born at that time, my other siblings). But I was staying.

Windows and babies. Two things not normally paired together. Unless, I guess, you were at a hospital and peering at the babies in the nursery through a window. Or you were my parents (or any parents) and your newborn was in the NICU and you studied the babe within the plastic bubble cradle.

Or you had two men with salty language outside your day job window and eavesdropping lead your mind down this twisty path of memories both real and hearsay.