She doesn’t remember

The Matchbox car that lies haphazardly on the kitchen floor digs into my foot as I step on it.

I screech out a four letter word in a very un-motherly fashion, and wince with pain.  I’m thankful the kids aren’t home to hear it.  I look down in disgust at the discarded toy, the same one I’ve reprimanded her countless times to not leave lying around for someone to step on.

She doesn’t remember to pick up her toys like I always ask.  I’m annoyed.

Screaming penetrates the air.  I’ve just gotten home from work, and am exhausted.  I yearn for a few minutes of peace and quiet.   But, yet, she cavorts throughout the house on a tear, howling and giggling with abandon.

“Inside voices!” I yell at her, losing my cool already.  I’ve told her a thousand times that screaming in the house is not allowed.

She doesn’t remember to use her inside voice.  Again.  I’m impatient.

She tears into our bedroom like a tornado.  It’s 5:30 in the morning.  Way too early for me to be muffling a her loud preschooler cackles.  And what makes it doubly worse is that I haven’t yet had my first cup of coffee.

We trudge downstairs.  Her feet stomping on the floor sound a wild elephant herd running through the house, and the pitter-patter is anything but tiny.  I’m quite certain, in fact, that the noise can be heard from the next county.

“Quiet!”  I hiss.  “Do you want to wake up your brother?”

She doesn’t remember that we need to be respectful of other people.  Especially at the butt crack of dawn. When they’re sleeping.  I’m perturbed.

We go to see my grandma.  It’s a visit that is long overdue, and one that I’ve been subconsciously putting off for far too long.

When we get there, I see Grandma sitting on the couch, staring vacantly off into the distance.  We go up to her, and hug her.  She smiles faintly, but I can tell she doesn’t recognize us.  As if it would help her remember, I proceed to babble incessantly about what’s been going on in our lives.  Grandma stares through me, and mumbles something incoherently.

She doesn’t remember who we are.  To say that I feel sadness would be an understatement.

In the car ride on the way home, we talk about it.  I tell my daughter that Grandma has a hard time remembering things now.  But she is special to mommy.  And it’s important that we go visit.  Even if it’s hard.

“Maybe we can go visit Grandma together sometime soon,” I offer.  “Just me and you?”

“Sure, mom,” she replies, absently.

“But she won’t remember,” I think to myself.  And almost immediately after we get home, the thought vanishes from my own mind.   I get wrapped up in every day life.  I forget about visiting.  I forget about the promises I made.

And then, I enter her preschool room.

“Look what I did today!” she exclaims excitedly when I walk in.  She motions to the folder bulging with artwork.

I absently leaf through the piles of construction paper and scribbles.  The crayon markings blur together in a Crayola haze, until I get to one in particular that catches my eye.

“Dear Grandma” is written in awkward, cramped lettering on one of the pieces.

“She’s been working hard on this today,” her teacher explains.  “She said she wanted to draw a special picture for her Grandma, because Grandma doesn’t remember very well.”

As I look at the artwork, I feel an unexpected lump in my throat.

“Turn it over, mommy!” she continues.  “I wrote my name on the back.  So it would help Grandma remember who I was.  Can we take it to her?”

And right then and there, I lose it.

Not because I’m annoyed, impatient, perturbed or saddened.

But because my daughter remembered.

It wasn’t a little thing.

It was a huge thing.  An important thing.

Some things, she doesn’t remember.  But I know that there is a part of her that remembers that which is truly important.

And the other things that are forgotten?  Maybe that’s okay.  Because even if she doesn’t remember, someone else will.

33 thoughts on “She doesn’t remember”

  1. I love, LOVE this….and I’m teary.

    Your stories about your grandmother tear at my heart, but this one? How you tied it together with your daughter? Took my breath away.

    Miss you…

  2. Wow. Just Wow. Needs to come with a disclaimer – not for work unless you don’t care about the makeup running down your face.

  3. Beautiful. Also a teary mess, thinking about my own grandma and my tendency to get impatient. Perspective, priorities.

    Sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job with your daughter. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  4. Tears! Not fair to make a hormonal person cry!

    On a grandma note, the other day I was just remembering our trips to see the Nutcracker with grammy. We got all dressed up and had a great time! I can’t remember if it was just you and I or did Aunt Cindy go too? Joy?

    1. I remember those Nutcracker days fondly! And I think it was just the two of us and grammy.

      Makes me want to go this Christmas. Think the baby would be old enough to go with me and Bobo? 🙂

  5. This is so touching…I just love this. Kids do so many things that we get aggravated at, but they have the purest hearts. What a beautiful thing for her to do!

  6. Lump in my throat. Memories of my own late grandmother who could not see, speak or recognize any of us at the end of her life, and me not being able to say goodbye. I’m so glad your daughter remembers. She’s a special girl.

    1. I’ve been through the experience of not getting to say goodbye. So hard. Makes me really, really thankful we have the opportunity to spend time with her now.

      Thanks for your sweet words, Alison. This really touched me.

  7. Oh my. This pulls at my heart in so many ways. For the times I’m too short with my own kids over the little things. For the great grandparents who faced memory loss and didn’t know me before we lost them. And for the grandfather who my children will never know because we lost him too soon.
    You have a special girl there. Hug her tight.

  8. What a sweet girl you have there. Enjoy your next visit with your Grandma…I know she will love that lovely and heartfelt picture 🙂

  9. This makes me so sad. I love how you wrote intertwining the two generations so far a part yet so close in behavior. Beautiful.

  10. Truly an inspirational work of art . . . and your blog is a gem too!! Seriously took me through the whole range of parental emotions. Thanks for helping me ‘remember’ too! W.C.C.

  11. I can’t remember to leave the toilet seat down.

    This is the only comment I can muster that won’t cause me to get a lump in my throat after reading this.

  12. So sweet. You are such an amazing writer. You have me rolling on the floor laughing one day and crying into my hands the next.

  13. Kayleen, This story is priceless. I’m so happy that Mom has given you such good memories to hold. I heard her voice in all your running interior monologues. So I guess some of it has passed along. You remind us to keep it all in perspective. Even the tough times.

    1. Lots and lots of good memories, for sure.

      And I don’t know if dad passed this on to you… but Bobo and I took the pictures she drew over to Grandma last weekend. She was doing better than I’d seen in a while. It was good to see.

  14. For a while, I was wondering where you were going with this but wow, it was priceless. Nothing like minions to put life into perspective. This was a beautiful post.

  15. Thnkx so much for this! I have not been this thrilled by a post for a long time! You have got it, whatever that means in blogging. Well, You are definitely someone that has something to say that people need to hear. Keep up the great work. Keep on inspirin

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