Next memoir post: The phone call

Next memoir post is up.

Sometimes a phone call can change your life.

It was actually two calls for me, the first from Joe’s parents, the one we were always afraid of, then just two weeks later from Kimiko.

I remember it was such a stressful time, and I didn’t even fully know what was going on. Dealing with his parents’ illness and hospitalization was one thing, letting my husband go tend to the needs of some other woman was quite another.

Some people might wonder how I could be so clueless. But the thought just never occurred to me. I never thought Joe could do such a thing, that it was even possible. I even felt guilty for being upset that he was going to Kimiko’s in the middle of the night to bring her to the hospital. One of my friends told me, “Have a little compassion! The woman could have been bleeding to death.”

Yes, bleeding as she miscarried one of their twins.

Now as my parents are getting older, there are other calls I dread. My mom seems the same, but in the years since he retired, my dad seems suddenly older. I know he has a healthy lifestyle, eating the right things, taking walks every day, and keeping busy with various activities, but I still can’t help but worry. He’s over 70 after all.

Every day I glance at the obits in the New York Times and breathe a sigh of relief whenever I see that all three “featured” deaths are well over 80. I cringe when I see those who have died at 70 or younger.

Dealing with parents’ deaths is a fact of life, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I dread even the thought of it. I don’t feel grown up enough. I can barely stand the thought of my grandmother passing, though she is well into her nineties and quickly declining.

My parents have never pressured me to give them grandkids. They think MB and I should have children, but more for our sake than theirs. They’ve never fussed over babies or toddlers, while I melt at even the sight of a single fat foot protruding from a carriage or stroller.

But they adored Mia, my cousin’s three-year old. The moment she walked in, my mother swooped down to give her a hug. “You’re so cute!” she cried. My dad cracked up over her antics, and when she left, they hugged her again and gave her kisses.

Doesn’t hurt that Mia’s a complete charmer. She’s outgoing and unafraid to talk to anyone, even my grandmother who may seem frightening to little kids. But Mia had no problem chatting up Puo-puo’s nurse, then going to my cousin and saying sympathetically, “Grandma’s sick.”

Of course my parents want grandchildren. They’re so full of life, even when they’re being bratty.

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