My original plan was to just take a ton of photos today, my fortieth birthday, and then put up forty photos that told a story. But then the story that happened today wasn’t something I could photograph entirely. You can see the beginning: I had yogurt and honey and coffee for breakfast while it was still dark and quiet out. I made cinnamon rolls for the kids.
Sophie got her finger slammed in the door and went to school with a bag of frozen peas on her hand. Nate left without saying goodbye (we got a little crossways) and Alex went off to school. I fed the fish. I left out gluten free brownie mix so the kids could make me a birthday treat with their nanny after school, and I drove to work.
While on the road, the nanny called in sick. I worked a bit and got an email from my mom that my grandmother was in the hospital. For lunch I went to get sushi at the grocery store with a few of my most favorite coworkers, and then worked till I had to leave to get the kids. I only put my feet up on my desk for the photo. I’m not really that lazy, usually.
I picked up Willow. Sophie had a playdate. Willow and I made brownies. I got my grandmother’s room number from my mom so I could give her a call in the morning after she’d had a chance to rest.
SG came over and made me dinner. We decorated the brownies. I made up with Nate. Then when we were just about to sit down for supper, my mom called and I knew even before I picked up the phone that it was bad news.
When we first moved from Texas to California over thirty years ago, my grandmother would always call when we were sitting down to have supper. It was a funny family joke; my mom would walk into the dining room with the last dish and the phone would ring and we’d all laugh. So I picked up and my mom told me that she was gone.
I wanted to just go to my room and close the door and cry, but more than that I didn’t want to tell the kids and have to talk about it yet. So I sat down and we had a really nice supper and I didn’t let on that I was crying. I opened the gift from my brother and his family, wishing I could talk to him.
I had more wine.
We had brownies and ice cream. I realized that the dining room set in my house is the one my grandparents bought for my parents when they got married in 1965, so I took a photo of that poor old battered chair that I love.
SG and I had a couple of Underbergs, and then he went home to study because school started last night and he’s got a ton of stuff to do before tomorrow’s class. I walked him outside, kissed him goodbye, and looked at the moon and the huge palm tree next door for a few minutes before coming in.
I had more wine, packed up the rest of the leftovers, and put the girls to bed.
Then I told the boys about Tooty (that’s what I called her) and they cried and I cried some more and then they went to sleep.
And now I’m sitting up in a dark and quiet house, missing Tooty and feeling so very sad. We were close my whole life and I was already missing her. SG has an airline voucher and he immediately said I could have it and that he’d help watch the kids while I went home, even though I know he can’t possibly fit it in with school and work. She told me the last few times we talked that she was ready for this, but damn if I am.