On Tuesdays, my mother and I don’t Skype. Besides Saturdays, when my mother goes hiking with her Korean hiking club, Tuesdays are the only other days we don’t get to Skype. We used to, but not anymore. Why? It’s complicated but it’s closer to ridiculous, upon closer inspection.
My grandmother’s health has been failing for quite some time now. This photo above, of her and my mother, is a few years old now and one of my favorite moments between the two of them. But since the photo was taken a lot has changed. For some time now my grandmother, halmuhnee in Korean, has had a rotation of nurses and home care providers in her home seven days a week from morning until early evening.
Grandmothers grow older in different ways. Mine also grapples with some memory losses and lapses. Sometimes, though, on Skype she’s as sharp as diamonds. So I want to believe my halmuhnee’s just fine. She’s not just fine though, is the reality, and my mother knows it too. So at the start of this year my mother started spending most of her days at my grandmother’s home.
So on most days we Skype like normal with me and Noah here, and my mother and my grandmother in New York, except the almighty Tuesday. Because on Tuesdays it’s a Korean nurse who spends the day at grandmother’s home. Oh. So?
“No Skype anymore Tuesday,” my mother said to me at the start of this year.
I’d asked her what she meant. “What’s happening on Tuesdays?”
To my grandmother, it’s a blessing to be able to have a care provider who speaks the same language even if it’s for just one day a week. To my momz, it’s a blessing and a curse. Momz doesn’t want the “Korean nurse lady” listening to our conversations about sex and drugs and “you know” things about people. So I said we could talk about other things, yet momz insists we not Skype on Tuesdays all-together and it’s all because of some inane Korean paranoia.
I find it ridiculous. But there are just some things I know momz won’t budge on and so tomorrow, Wednesday, I will Skype with momz once again. I’ll tell her all about Noah’s first day at daycare across the street, and how he made friends immediately with a two-year-old boy named Dan and chatted the whole time in baby babble. And I’ll tell her that Noah inhaled a strawberry yogurt and then pooped during the four hours he was there. Oh, and I’ll tell momz how glad I am that my period’s over and that my vagina is in tip-top shape according to my lovely gynecologist, Dr. M.
Then momz will question everything in and around the daycare until I’m sufficiently paranoid to the most Korean level. Then I’m sure she’ll tell me about the creepy old Korean dude who’s been hitting on her on her Saturday hikes, and whether or not he’s pursued her again. Momz will probably also ask me slyly if I’ve had any more sex in the garage with Davy, as she likes to throw that joke in every once in a while eliciting a cackle from me.
For today, Tuesday, there will be no Skype date for me and momz and Noah and halmuhnee. But it was a big day, and so there will be much to dish about tomorrow on Skype. And that’s where No Skype Tuesdays comes from.