Posts Tagged ‘tuesdays with maga’


December 15, 2020

I have to be honest. After last week’s call, I didn’t think I’d have a post to write this week. But, like the rest of 2020, it’s full of surprises, and Maga rallied and here we are.

Caregiver M answered the phone and let me know Maga’d had a shower and, while back in bed, she was awake and was “twirling her hair” so the speaker phone was turned on.

“Hi, Maga! It’s Abby!”

“Hello, dear.” Her voice was tired, and yet, alert. “Where are you?”

“In [state]. At my mom’s house.”

“It’s a good state. I spent a lot of time there.”

“You did, indeed!” I was fairly blown away by her recall.

She faded, so I reached for a tried and true topic. “Did you get much sun today?”

Her chuckles came through weakly. “Oh, no. I don’t ever have any fun.”

“What about sunshine? Did you get outside today?”


“A big snowstorm is headed our way tomorrow!”

“Is it?”

“We’re going to get a lot of snow, but my dad has a snow blower, so that means I don’t have to shovel. I’m pretty excited about it.”

“A what?”

“My dad has a machine that cleans the driveway.”

“Where are you?” Maga asked.

“At my mom’s house. I’m here for the holidays.”


I tried for a new tactic. “When you were young and had a Christmas tree in your living room, did you put white lights or colored lights on it?” (Reader: I had to reword this question a couple of times, but she got there eventually.)

“Colored lights on the tree,” she said.

“Me too!”

“It’s tradition and I like the colored lights showing.”

I tried to explain that it’s a big argument between colored light bulbs vs white lights. She didn’t fully follow, but as we’re all aware of life in quarantine, sometimes, the sheer act of showering takes all your energy and you don’t have anything left in the tank for a phone call. We spoke a little longer, but I didn’t want to tax her too much.

A casual conversation sprinkled with a few new details was a thousand times more than I even dared to hope for last week, so I hung up with a huge smile on my face.


December 8, 2020

On our daily walk, my mom warned me that Maga’s “sleepy days” were increasing, but while I was preparing dinner a couple of hours later, I overheard them talking and it seemed like Maga was awake and doing okay.

Caregiver M answered the phone.

“M? Hi! It’s Abby.”

“Oh, hello, Abby. Your Maga is in bed, but let me tell her you’re on the phone.”


“I’m going to put you on speaker, so your Maga can hear you.”

“Perfect.” I waited for the cue. “Hi, Maga! It’s Abby!”

“Hello, Abby dear.”

Her words were slurred and difficult to come by. I didn’t want to force a conversation, but I also didn’t want to say goodbye. I asked a couple of yes/no questions, but the effort to answer them seemed too great.

“Goodnight and goodbye,” Maga said.

“I love you,” I said.

“I love you too.”


December 1, 2020

“Hi, Maga. It’s Abby. How are you?”

“I’m in the middle of dinner, so I guess you could say I’m good.”

And then she hung up on me. I gave the situation a few minutes because me calling back right away never works. As I was gearing up for call #2, my phone rang!

“Hi, Maga!”

“Hi, Abby dear.”

“Whatcha up to?” (Reader: this is not the slang I used while talking to her, as she could not hear me very well.)

“I’m eating dinner.”

“Whatcha having?”

“A hamburger on a roll.”

“It’s shephard’s pie,” Caregiver M called. And after some confusion, Maga listed off the items on her plate instead: “carrots, peas, ground beef, soup…”

“And you have a good looking dessert,” Caregiver M said.

“Tell me about it,” I said.

Maga fumbled for words, for the ability to hear my tone of voice… Caregiver M kindly directed things and had Maga pose for a photo. After a lifetime of making all those around her pose for photos, Maga certainly took being set-up for a photo with more patience than we ever granted her as the photographer.

“Cheese,” she said.

“Tell Abby I’m sending her the photo,” Caregiver M said.

“Maga!” I cried after receiving the photo, “you match your dessert!”


“Your sweater is the same color as your food.”


“It’s mandarin parfait,” Caregiver M supplied.

“Oh yes. I always like dessert,” Maga said in response to my prompt about what her favorite part of dinner was.

There was some jostling with the hearing aid and what ear she had the phone against, but mostly, Maga couldn’t understand my questions about the weather, holiday decorations, her evening plans, etc. She chewed her way through her dinner and through our phone call, which honestly, I was more than fine with because her appetite is harder to find than her hearing aid these days.

“Can you hear me now?” Maga asked after Caregiver M adjusted her phone.

“Umm, yes, I could always hear you,” I said, not willing to go into the facts that her hearing aid doesn’t help me hear her any better…

“I can hear you just fine now,” she said. “So I’ll say goodbye and good luck with consideration in everything you do.”

“Oh, okay, thank you,” I said accepting the end of the call. I had my party favor in the form of a picture and she had her mandarin parfait. A fairly successful Tuesday night.


November 24, 2020

“And where are you?” Maga asked, as she always does.

“I’m at my mom’s house in [State].”

“Oh, yes.”

“You know it well, don’t you? You grew up here.”

“I didn’t grow up in [Same State].”

“You didn’t?”


Now we were a pair of confused ladies. Her because 99yo memory. Me because 39yo memory. Who had the facts?

“Well, you were born here, right?” I asked.

“Yes. I was born in [State]. As I got older, I started going to school in [State]. What else did I do in [State]? I went to a lot of school. What did you do in [State]?”

“I went to high school here.”

“Oh yes. I know [State] well. I kind of grew up there.”

Me, nodding. “Yes, yes. I thought so.”

“Where are you right now?” Maga asked.

“I’m in [State].”

“[State]. I know about that state. I was born and raised there.”

Me, triumphantly punched the air. “I thought so.”

All during this conversation, there was chewing and rattling and clattering of things on the other end. As usual, it was dinnertime there. “Oh,” she said. “This is a cookie. I like cookies. Always have.”

Well, there’s something we both agree on with complete clarity and without name-dropping [State] again.


November 17, 2020

“I think it’s one of my granddaughters,” Maga said, her voice progressively getting louder as the telephone was handed to her. “Hello?”

“Hi, Maga. It’s Abby.”

“Hi, Abby dear. How did we start this conversation tonight?”

“I called you.”

“What day is today?”


“Do you normally call on Tuesdays?”

“I do.”

“Oh, I didn’t remember that.”

“That’s okay. Your memory’s not as young as it once was. It’s 99!”

“I’m ninety…” her voice trailed off as she contemplated how old she was. “I’ll be 99?”

“You already are.”

“I’ll be 100? When’s my birthday?”


“Where are you?”

“My apartment.”

“Who’s with you?”

“No one.”

“I mean who’s visiting you?”

“No one’s allowed to visit right now.”

“What did you do today,” she asked in what was beginning to feel like an interrogation.

“Worked. Ate food. Walked. Boring,” I said.


“I did some work. Made some meals for myself.”

“You cooked for your son?”


“Do you have any children?”


“No girls or boys?”

“No. Do you have any children?” I asked, testing this wobbly memory of hers.

“Yes. 4.”

She was quiet. Was it my turn to interrogate her? She sighed, long and low.

“What’s up?” I said.

“I’m trying to think what’s up.”

“What did you have for dinner?” It’s easiest if I stick to the present.

“Chicken and, hmm, what else was on that plate?”

“What it good?”

“It was edible.”

That was a good way to describe this Tuesday. It was there. It happened. Nothing notable. Nothing terrible. And sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

“Well, Maga. I’m going to let you go,” I said after she’d given me the play by play of the geico commerical, the all state commercial, and the tennis match she had on.

“Until next Tuesday,” she said.