Saturday, April 2, 2005

Published April 2, 2005
St. George Spectrum & Daily News
I remember a day long ago when I thought I was losing my mother to some sort of insidious brain disease. My good friend, Joi, called and I asked Mom if I could spend a few hours at her house.

Mom grilled me on whether or not my chores were done, whether or not her parents would be home, and what time I was planning on being back, then gave me the hoped for consent. I hurried to get my coat and headed out the front door.

"Where are you going?" came a voice from the kitchen. There was my mother, standing in the dining room doorway, looking confused. The time lapse between permission and repression? About 1 minute. Inwardly, I cried a plaintive, 12 year old cry and thought, my mother is losing her mind!

Years later, I talked with her about her absent mindedness. She said she first started noticing it during pregnancy, and indeed, it is something most pregnant women experience as a temporary side effect. However, her next words were, "after your just never went away...What did you say, dear?"

Fast forward to the present. I realized I had left the upstairs cordless phone downstairs, so I hurried down to retrieve it. Upon descending the bottom step, I looked into my family room and thought, "Why did I come down here, again?" I didn't remember for another hour.

I wouldn't be worried except that exact scenario happened 18 times today. Whether I was searching for a hook for hanging aprons or needing something from the chest freezer in the laundry room, by the time I made it down the small flights of stairs in our split level home, I had forgotten why I even started.

They say the memory is the first thing to go, and people, it done gone. There's a cutesy little wall hanging I see for sale now and then that says, "Of all the things I've lost...I miss my mind the most." I laugh hysterically every time I see one, probably because I think it's the first time I've ever seen it.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. I had my fifth child just four months ago, at the same age my mother was when she had HER fifth and the absent mindedness settled in for good. It's just par for the mothering course, I guess. And when I say course, I mean one of those thingies where you take the doohickey and hit it with the thingamajig.

Of course, senility at 28 isn't all downside. There's comfort in knowing I'll never remember bad news (Iraq WHO?). It gives me something new to blame on my children, and that's always good (up 'til now all I had was gray hair and broken Precious Moments figurines). And speaking of gray hair...nope, I've lost it...and it was going to be a funny one...I think.

What did you say, dear?