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.