What Was I Just Doing?

Carol - Alexandria, Virginia
Entered on March 5, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: parenthood
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I kept meaning to write about my memory loss, but I kept forgetting. I’m a new mom—I have a 2-year-old son and an 8-month-old baby—and I’m sure other women in my position know I’m not trying to be funny.

Since living in Kiddietown, I no longer know my own mind. I forget simple details I’ve known all my life. I don’t remember daily routines necessary to survive, like buying milk and baby food and toilet paper.

I also can’t recall simple data necessary to function in the modern age. Like the year. It happened when I was writing a check. It wasn’t January, or even February, when it’s permissible to slip up. This brain freeze happened in SEPTEMBER. Was it 2006, or 2007? I stood there, pen in hand, staring at the check made out to the hospital for never-ending baby bills, and honestly didn’t know.

A week later, I was running errands on an exceptionally beautiful fall day and choose to walk from store to store instead of driving. “The walk is the beginning of the path back to physical fitness and normal weight!” I thought. “I’m starting to feel like me again!” But my euphoria evaporated in the jewelry store where I was getting my watch repaired and I peered at the horizontal mirror behind the counter. My shirt was on inside out, the tag stuck ungracefully out of the bulging side seam. Did I remember to look at myself in the full-length before I walked out the door? No. I forgot.

The next weekend, my mother was visiting. Appropriately, she oooed and ahhhhed over baby girl and would barely let anyone else hold her. But moments later, she was no longer holding her. Confused and alarmed I asked, “Where’s Sara Clare?” I then realized Mom had given the baby to me. And I was nursing.

I’m not going to mention all the items I’ve lost because they remained on the roof of the car while we drove off down the road. I’ve never pulled a Raising Arizona and driven off without one of the kids, mind you. Still, the flirtations with insanity are daily reminders I’m losing control over something that—unlike my body, time, physical space, energy—is exclusively mine. My mind.

But I have gotten comfortable reducing my mental inventory. After all, I have a job, in an office, where I have to commute, wear dry-cleaned clothes, and rely on firing synapses. There’s only so much space. I’ve also gotten very cozy with an array of caffeinated beverages.

And while I don’t like not remembering my ATM pin and the reason why I’m at the grocery, I do manage to feed my baby girl. I laugh when my son escapes from a diaper change and goes streaking through the family room. On most days, I even shower.

Food, laughter, cleanliness.

I win.