The setting, grandma’s house. The year, probably 1985 or 1986. The fashions… well, we’ll leave that alone.
It was my birthday, and I’d unsuccessfully lobbied to stay home from school. To make me feel better about being shipped off to the institution, my grandmother promised to make me a special birthday lunch, just for the two of us to share.
Being a child means living in the moment and having a totally egocentric world view, right?
So, that day, I invited my friend Jenny Pagan to lunch at my grandmother’s house. My grandmother didn’t miss a beat. Didn’t seem surprised or disappointed. She led us to the table, already set for two. She fed us salad and steak (my favorite foods at the time – yes, I was a strange child) and sent us on our way back to school.
Years later, I looked back on that with shame. Here was my grandmother, trying to do something special and nice for us, and I didn’t consider her feelings at all. I felt so terrible, for so long.
Last week I picked up the phone and called my grandmother, launched into the story and said, “I’m either calling to apologize, or to thank you for rolling with the punches.” She laughed and swore she hadn’t even thought of it since the day it happened, and couldn’t imagine I’d actually lugged around guilt for something like that.
I blame my quasi-Catholic upbringing.