Maggie and I watched the white-haired couple seated near us at a table for two. They exuded interest in each other, not cellphones. Maggie caught my wistful look. She knew I missed Jud. Especially, since it was May 31st, our wedding anniversary. Which was why Maggie, Kate and Rose, their friend, lunched with me at Davio’s. Because sometimes you just have to hunt new ways to affirm life as it is, not was.
When the server stopped by with menus, she asked, “Are we celebrating anything special?” I said,”Just being together.” And Maggie said,”Her anniversary and her birthday in two days.” Then I added like it mattered to anyone besides me,”Well, my husband died a few years ago and this was one of our favorite places so I brought my Grands to remember and party with me.” The server responded with the usual, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Then added,”How nice you could be together.”
Nice. One of those catchall words. Like, “Have a nice day.” Or, “You look nice in that color.” The OED defines nice as “pleasant, agreeable, satisfactory.” And our anniversary lunch was all of the above, except for two incidents. The first incident came when Poco, half way through her meal, announced, “I don’t feel well.”
Well, that put Maggie on red alert since she’s playing Elsa in her school’s production of Frozen this weekend. And justifies why Maggie recoiled in dramatic horror and warned, “Poco, don’t breathe on me! I can’t get sick!” Rose, a doctor’s daughter, calmly felt her friend’s forehead and pronounced, “She’s fine!”
But Poco didn’t feel fine. So I opened my arms, inviting her to my lap to curl up and breathe, guilt free. Which she did all over me. And as Poco proclaimed on my 80th birthday,”So far, so good.”
However, the other incident was on me. In an attempt to elevate the conversation, I made the mistake of saying more than necessary. It’s one of my lesser gifts. So I turned to the three girls, ages 10, 12 and 13, and announced in somewhat biblical language, “It’s appropriate that you Grands are celebrating this anniversary with me. You are the fruit of our love.” (I didn’t say “loins.” ) Nevertheless, Maggie, age 13, responded with, “Eww!”
Well, I laughed. Why not?! Life’s a mix of “Eww!” and “Wow!” and all the in-between moments. Ordinary days, like today. Life as it is, not was.
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