Kay Lane

I was 27 when my grandmother passed away in 2001. Today would have marked her 97th birthday. The only time I've ever seen my mother cry was at her funeral. As we walked towards the church on that afternoon, I was holding my mom's arm as she remained her indomitable self. But as we made our way across the parking lot, she turned to see all of the cars arriving: sisters, nieces, nephews, in-laws, friends, and suddenly, she broke down. My mother remains not only a remarkable mom, but quite possibly my best friend. And my mother's best friend was undoubtedly her mother, Kay Lane.

I have photos of my grandmother and grandfather all over my apartment, most courtesy of my incredibly thoughtful aunt, Barbara. My grandfather, who passed away in 1977, reminds me of Woody Guthrie. I'm not really sure why; something about his looks and his way about going through life. I wish I'd gotten to know them more. Despite the passage of time, I still think of them often.

Although he's still probably only about 11 months, after adopting Bennett, I decided to give him my grandmother's birthday. As he sits at my feet with Freedy Johnston's "The Lucky One" on in the background, it's time to round him up and head off to the park, where we'll chuck the ball and celebrate his first and grandma's 97th.