The Crankee Yankee and I had both been married before we got together; he at age 26, and me at age 36. At the time, it all seemed right, but as sometimes happens in marriages, things can go south.
After 14 years of marriage, he called it quits. I called it quits after 10 years of marriage. (I’ll save you the boring details; suffice it to say that some marriages just do not hold up over time.) Understandably, we both were gun-shy for quite a while after both divorces.
But time passed as it always does, and old hurts and anger are lost in time and memory. I just figured that I would be single for the rest of my life, with cats as companions. Both of us simply went on with our lives. We each had some relationships that ended amicably; nothing serious.
When I was living in Texas, I had heard that the Crankee Yankee had put away his hammers and nails and had become a coast-to-coast trucker. One evening I got a phone call from him; he said that he was passing through my town and would I like to go out to dinner?
I did, and we did. We caught up with each other and talked for so long that we closed down the restaurant. I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned this in posts past, but, long story short, that year was an interesting one. He invited me to go with him to West Point for his daughter’s graduation in May, and then invited me to her wedding in September.
By the time we attended the wedding, we were already engaged. Now, sixteen years later, we enjoy our wonderful granddaughters and son-in-law (not the guy his daughter married back in 2001; they too broke up.) When his daughter was deployed to Afganistan she met her future husband. They now have our two wonderful granddaughters, Ava (7) and Juliette (2 1/2). The Crankee Yankee’s ex-wife lives with them as well.
We were visiting them one day and went out to lunch. Ava was sitting across from me at the table, and out of the clear blue sky she asked me why her biological grandmother, (the Crankee Yankee’s first wife) and Grampy “broke up.”
After I stopped coughing, having swallowed a mouthful of hot soup, I thought ‘oh dear lord, how the heck am I going to address this?!’ I took a deep breath and told her that people sometimes change and go in different directions and that some marriages just don’t last. Thankfully, that satisfied Ava and we went on with our lunch.
What next? I thought, ‘Good Lord in Heaven, please do not let Ava ask me where babies come from!’ However, should she ask me, I will tell her that that is a “very special talk” that only mothers and daughters should have together.
While I am touched that my granddaughter feels comfortable enough with me to ask these questions, I am hyper-aware of where the boundaries are. I try to keep a balance between saying enough but not too much.
As my late and wonderful mother-in-law would have said, “*oy vey ist mir!”
*Yiddsh for ‘oh, woe is me!’ and probably ‘what more can happen?’