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I'm a Recovering Drama Queen. I got tired of the same old lines.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Her Backbone (Part II)

"Your father's here, won't you please let Papa take a picture of the two of you?"

Her Grandma Ann stood in front of her with a concerned look on her face. She could see the pain this was causing her, but she couldn't get past her own pain.

It was her Bat Mitzvah. It had been several months since she had spoken with her dad. She told her mom not to invite him. He came anyway and sat in the back of the synagogue. He was wearing slacks, a leather jacket, and boots...that image stays with her for some reason.

She stood in her steel blue dress and pretty, black Pappagallo sandals, choked back the tears and said, "I can't do that, Grandma." The look of desperation in her Grandma's eyes was painful. Her dad quietly left and her grandparents never brought it up again. She wasn't mad at them, they just wanted their grandchild to have her father back, they wanted to make things right again.

Her Bat Mitzvah party was at their house...her mom rented a jukebox and bought two huge tubs of ice cream (the size of the ones they have at the ice cream parlor). Peppermint, with the bits of candy. It wasn't the big party that her sister had a couple of years earlier, but it was fun. Though the house had it's problems, it did have the most amazing screened in patio in their backyard. It was huge. Many a stray kitty and even a wounded duckling would live on that patio. There was a grill that she put together with her mom, piece by piece. For some reason she'd always remember the man at the store wanting to find someone to come over and put it together for her. Her mom said no. The man eventually gave up, but not before loading her up with free grilling utensils. Her Grandparents were, of course, at the party. Their relationship with their daughter-in-law did not change after the divorce. They were always so good and loving to her mother, and the feeling was mutual. This was perhaps the most meaningful relationship ever modeled to her.
Years later, when she was not quite 32, she sat at her Grandmother's bedside in the hospital. It was their last visit before she passed away. Almost twenty years had gone by and, out of the blue, her Grandma wanted to apologize for asking her to take that picture with her father. She cried as she held her hands and told her Grandma Ann no apology was necessary, she knew she was doing what she thought was best.

She had no idea how deeply that moment affected her Grandma...it saddened her to think that weighed so heavily on her backbone. 


  1. Damn it, Stephanie. My brow is furrowing in "avoiding tearing up" mode. Write funnier stuff.

  2. I suspect that there is more sadness to come, I'd stock up on tissues Maxwell.

    Still liking it. I'm a bit stumped by why you chose to say 'not quite 32', unless you wanted to signify that the child still remained inside her?

  3. What a wonderful grandma. I hope this story will continue. It's so well written that I need more.

  4. Maxwell - sorry, dude, let the tears flow...it's good for you

    Arlequin- I think I wrote not quite 32 because I was trying to establish my age and that almost 20 years had passed since I was Bat Mitzvah'd at age 13.

    E- Grandma Ann was the best. Peanut's middle name is Ann.

  5. Aw. sorry I haven't been by in the last couple of days. You know why though. I love the way you are writing this. It's very well done. I could picture you are a little girl going through this. How hard on you and your grandma. I'm glad they stayed close to your mom and you though. I wish my ex's parents where more like that instead of being the cold bastards they are.

  6. Arh what a moving story! I like it.

  7. Stephanie, you are such a talented story teller. You should definitely keep this going. Don't forget to give us some day to day stuff too. Like how's Slow & Steady going?

  8. I'm welling up. Maxwell! Pass the tissues!

    Beautifully written. So interesting what stays with us, and what we never remember. I still feel bad at hanging out with my friends while on a field trip that my grandmother chaperoned. I asked my mother about it once, she said my grandmother never mentioned it. Which is good, because I still want to believe that out of the 27 grandchildren she had, I was her favorite. :)

  9. That's a beautiful middle name. :)

  10. I am here reading back posts and am completely transfixed by the masterful way in which you tell your story. I have caught up on "Steady" now, too, thank you. I hope all will work out in the best possible way and whichever way is going to make you and your little girl happy for ever after, as you both deserve only the best.