How Many Grandchildren Do I Have?

Temme with grandchildren copy

This is the second post in a series about my trip to Florida with my mother….

A few days after I bought our tickets—paying an extra $150 per seat so we could sit in the bulkhead, right next to the bathroom—I brought up our trip to Mom. “Hey, Mom, in a few weeks, we’re going to Florida.”

Mom looked up at me and beamed. Then her face filled with consternation and she asked, “How many grandchildren do I have?

Really? I wasn’t sure I should ask. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. Had we really sunk this low? “How many grandchildren do you think you have?”

She thought for a moment, searching the mostly empty coffers of her memory. “Well, there’s Eli. And Lizzy. And Sonya.” There were long pauses between each name, but she found them all.

Oh good. “That’s right, Mom, you have three.”

“Well, I want to go see Sonya.”

Here I’ve just committed to this huge plane flight with her, this improbable journey and now Mom’s ready to plan another?

“I want to see Sonya when we go to Florida.”

“Mom, Sonya doesn’t live in Florida. She’s never lived in Florida. She lives in San Diego. I’m sure she’ll come to see you soon.”

“I thought she lived in Florida.”

“No, Mom, Esther, your sister lives in Florida. We’re going to see Esther.”

“Esther,” Mom mused with a smile. “Esther, my schvester” she said, using the Yiddish word for sister. “You know I was talking to Esther the other day and I told her we were coming. She was thrilled. She didn’t know anything about it. Was it supposed to be a surprise?”

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