There I sat in her living room watching this precious woman, my grandmother-in-law, play her special version of patty-cake with my fifteen-month-old daughter. I couldn’t understand the words (they were in another language), but the affection was clear.
It was a Monday night. A friend and I were on our way to Art Survey 101, and we had just reached the third floor. He rounded the corner from the hall, courteously dipped his head, and asked, “Would you know where the so-and-so office is?”
Okay, you know he didn’t really say, so-and-so. It’s been 25 years, and the tiny details are long gone. Suffice it to say, it was an ordinary question. And we gave an ordinary answer. “On the 2nd floor, just to your right.”
Why we didn’t wait until Dad got home to do it, I couldn’t tell you. It meant no disrespect for him; he’d obviously helped us buy them. But each birthday and Mother’s Day, we stood on a stool by the washing machine and made Mom close her eyes as she helped us put her gift in a box, cut the paper, fold perfect crisp corners, and put just the right amount of tape on all the seams. As far as I know, she kept her promise and never looked. She always acted surprised when she reopened them…
We tried to get her to close her eyes while we mixed her cake, but I imagine she peeked a little there. Continue reading →
I’ve had a lot of them this year. Last high school soccer game for my daughter. Last high school track meet for my son. Last month we had the last piano recital for both of them–a special senior one, with just them and two other seniors, where they each played a number of songs and had us crying as the last note melted away….Continue reading →