This living room holds a curious mix of memories for me—some good,
some disheartening, and some I have yet to fully understand. The new
memory I will create here today with my daughter Sadie will fall into
one of these categories, but into which one, I’m not sure. The
discussion I am about to have with her is just the beginning—the
memory will need to play itself out.
I still call this Aunt Birdie’s house, even though my name is now on
the title. With four bedrooms and a big backyard, it suits my growing
family. My wife and daughter keep petitioning for a dog, but I haven’t
yet caved in to that request.
I take a deep breath before I begin the task of reducing a complicated
saga—one that consumed my life between the ages of twelve and
seventeen—into terms a five-year-old will understand.
“There’s something I want to explain to you, Sadie.”
“That’s okay, Daddy. I don’t have to know what you do at work.”
“No, sweetie. It’s not that.” I develop user interfaces for a toy
manufacturer. She asked me yesterday what I did at work all day. I
explained it to her as best I could, using her LeapPad as an example,
but managed to completely lose her. “This is about your
“No, your other grandma.”
“What other grandma?”
“Grandma Tess is your mom’s mother. But I have a mother too, and
she’s your other grandmother. Her name is Grandma Rose.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“I know you didn’t.”
“So I have two grandmas?” Sadie looks confused but seems to be
receptive to the idea. “Where does she live?”
“Well, that’s what I want to explain to you. Since before you were
born, she’s been in, sort of like… She lives far away.”
“What’s she like, Daddy?”
This is a difficult question for me to answer. I haven’t seen my
mother in a while, and given where she’s been, the years haven’t
been very kind to her.
“Well, I know one thing,” I say to her. “I’ll bet she’ll be
happy to meet her sweet little grandchild for the first time.”
She giggles as I tickle her. “Yes, you.”
“Why is she coming to see us?”
“Actually, she’s going to move here.”
As I search for the right words, I am taken back to the day when it all
started—the extraordinary chain of events that has for better or worse
shaped my life.
Someday, when Sadie is old enough, I’ll tell her the whole story.
It’s one she should know.
Excerpted from "Nineteen Hundred Days" by Florence Osmund. Copyright © 2018 by Florence Osmund. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.