Checkered pants and nectarines

My aunt recently told me a story about checkered pants.

She was walking through a department store with her husband a few months after her mom--my grandmother--had passed away when she suddenly burst into tears. Her husband--worried sick that something was seriously wrong because she was pregnant--began to frantically ask if she was OK, if the baby was OK. Relieved after she told him everything was fine, he curiously asked what had made her cry.

"Those pants over there," she said as she pointed to a pair of blue and white checkered pants in the women's clothing section of the store. "Mom would have loved them."

My aunt told me she thought she had come to grips with the fact that her mother had passed away, until that moment, when the checkered pants propelled her back to that overwhelming sense of grief.

The other day, that very same thing happened to me, except with a nectarine.

I took Henry to the grocery with me--something I avoid at all costs because it only results in a stress-filled hour of finger pointing and, "Please, mommy. Pleeeaaasssee," and a constant, "No, Henry, we're not getting that macaroni and cheese just because it has Lightning McQueen on the box."

But when Henry pointed to the fresh, ripe nectarines and said, "Please, mommy--apple," I couldn't resist.

"OK, buddy. We'll get some nectarines."

"No, apple."

"No, these are nectarines. They look like apples, but they're called nectarines."

"Oh! Netawines!"

Later that day as snack time arrived, Henry and I sat down to eat our "netawines." As I took the knife and began to cut through the juicy fruit with Henry looking on in anticipation, a sudden wave of grief took over me. It was a feeling of deja vu, but with the roles reversed.

The memory of my grandpa and I, sitting at his kitchen counter across from each other, was overwhelming. Like it was only yesterday, I could see him, with his shiny silver hair, in his polo shirt and khaki shorts, cutting through a red nectarine, handing me a piece, and then taking a piece for himself. We'd eat the whole thing, slowly savoring each bite, talking about life.

The memories forced the tears to come, flowing faster and faster until I could no longer focus on the knife or the nectarine or Henry.

"Mommy... ," Henry said. If he had the words he would have asked if I was OK, but his little 2-and-a-half-year-old vocabulary wasn't advanced enough. I could see the worry in his eyes; he wondered why his mommy was crying instead of him.

"It's OK, buddy. Mommy's just missing Grandpa right now. Grandpa loved nectarines."

"Poo-pa netawine," he said, proud of himself for understanding what I was saying.

"Yep. Grandpa loved nectarines."

And he did.

I love thinking back to those days of sharing nectarines with Henry, my grandpa. And now, I love looking forward to all the nectarines I'll share with Henry, my son.


  1. Okay, this is totally making me tear up. I'm sorry Sarah! I do think it's amazing that you had family so close to you! I wish I could say the same! Hold on to those awesome memories!

  2. Made me cry, oh grandpa. Life doesnt make sense. I know that he lived a long life - but I never wanted that day to come....and as soon as we knew something was wrong it all happened so fast, to fast. I wish I had more memories like this with him. When I lived with him I took it for granted, and today I regret it more than anything. I am so lucky for having the time that I did with him - and I know I wouldnt be the strong person I am today without him. I am so thankful to have a little Henry...that I love more than anything. I will always be his "Emi" Just like I was and will always be Grandpas "Emi" <3


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