Where did I put my . . . ? Oh there it is! This phrase has become a refrain to a daily hymn at my house. My keys, my hat, my shoes, my coat, my just about anything, has its place and is rarely in it when I go looking. Of course, if I ever get into a fight with myself and stop talking to myself, I’ll have no one to chastise for my own forgetfulness. But, for now, asking twenty times a day is the norm, and so is answering, blaming, and occasionally cursing. When I remember, praying to Saint Anthony (finder of lost and misplaced things) usually turns up the missing article. Fortunately for me, St. Anthony is non-denominational when it comes to a good mystery.
At my age, I seem to be getting clear about the fact that I’m still alive at my age. Along with that epiphany, I can remember having this forgetfulness ever since I can remember anything at all. I could never find stuff when I was a kid because I was a kid, and kids aren’t really in charge of where stuff goes. When I was a teenager I could never find stuff because I was busy being a teenager, and a teenager’s job is precisely to lose things, especially things that belong to other people, and especially, especially things that belong to Mom or Dad.
As a mother, it was my job to keep things from getting lost. Given that is what things do best — get lost — a mother’s job is painfully impossible. Children lose stuff and mothers search for stuff. This changes when mothers become grandmothers. Grandchildren are handy-dandy for grandmothers. They understand each other. They both know that stuff loses itself, and they both have fun hanging out together searching the house or car for lost stuff . . . like a special game of hide and seek where the grandkid always wins the finder’s fee, the grandparent is usually happy to have the item back in hand for a fleeting moment, and everyone has learned some new words along the way.
This forgetfulness is one reason that great-grandmothers probably wouldn’t make the best babysitters. Kids and grandkids might be helpful, even good at finding things like that one missing earring that somehow fell into the shag carpet and vanished until younger eyes came to the rescue. But, can you imagine me in my rocking chair, knitting and smiling and suddenly wondering — Where did I set that baby down this time?
Now, the nice thing about babies is that they can usually be tracked by their smells and sounds if one is patient enough to wait for them to alert you. Having been a mother and a grandmother, these are familiar to me, and I’m pretty sure they haven’t changed all that much in the time it’s taken me to become a great-grandmother.
Some say I’m too young to be a great-grandmother. To them I say, Nonsense! I’m pre-qualified. I have run this marathon. I have all my ribbons . . . somewhere around here. And, on Star Wars Day this year — which, though it has only been three days and a few miles from my house, seems in my sleep-deprived state to be “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” — my great-grandson came into this world. It is official! I have graduated from little kid to teenager to mother to grandmother and finally to great-grandmother. My crown is somewhere around here, and when my great-grandson is old enough to crawl, he can help me find it.
In the meantime, my mother is still ahead in this game. She has me beat by one “great” — she is the GREAT-great-grandmother. She will never have to worry about misplacing her crown, as it is permanently fused to her head by now. And I doubt that having a great-great-grandkid makes her feel any older. Although, being the mother of a great-grandmother might cause a tingle in her mingle.
I call my mother every morning to greet her with love. I visit her in person as often as I can. I honor and respect her. I focus on the good times we’ve shared, even though I remember every item of hers I ever lost and every moment I gave her cause to worry about me. Time may feel long to some, but as we age it flies by so fast that it seems much shorter. Love is the only remedy for regrets. Laughter is the only remedy for loss.
I’ve spent forty years raising children. Either I have learned what they’ve taught me or I’m just too exhausted to think about it anymore. Either way, I’m retired. I will have to settle for holding babies when I’m safely tucked in the chair or couch. I will have to settle for sending money in birthday cards, as shopping, wrapping, and shipping is for younger legs and arms. I will have to settle for whatever requires less mileage on this old lady. This would make me feel sad if I focused on it, but at my age focus is not really a ‘thing’ anymore.
I’ve finally lived long enough for life to hammer gratitude into my heart, thus transforming my tears of sadness into tears of joy.
So I will cry tears of joy for my amazing, beautiful mother who never gave up on her children and grandchildren, when she is carried by angels from this world of hide-n-seek.
And when my time comes to meet my maker, I will cry tears of joy for having had the privilege of living a life filled with love, happiness, and the sweetness of my children and their children and their children, and so on.
Today, and even when I’m beyond the beyond, I will cry tears of joy for these new generations, for they come to this world with nothing to lose and everything to find.
© Jennifer Sweete, May 7, 2018
Any typos found in this document are caused by sleep deprivation. The author pleads insanity.
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Books I am reading this season:
The Misfit’s Manifesto by Lidia Yuknavitch
A Real Basket Case by Beth Groundwater
Waterwight Flux by Laurel McHargue (Book II of the Waterwight series)
Navajo Whisper by Carol Bellhouse
Pre-suasion by Robert Cialdini
God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment by Scott Adams – Interesting twists and turns. (Review to come.)
The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale – Thoughts are Things, true. (Still reading – it’s slow-going.)
Write Like the Masters by William Cane – Every writer should read this book three times. (Still reading and taking copious notes!)
Some of the Writing Prompt books written by Knatia Parson – A writer’s delight! (Using some of these for a group writing session coming up soon.)
Until we meet again, keep reading, keep writing, keep dreaming!
Jennifer Sweete is the author of Dear Sandy: The letter that wrote itself into a Book (2015) and The Poet & The Widow (2016). She is a Certified Massage Therapist and Usui/Holy Fire Karuna Reiki® Master and teacher, a small business and writer’s consultant, self-mastery coach, musician, poet, and author. And they all fit snugly into the same hat! She’s currently serving her 4th term as President of the Chaffee County Writers Exchange while assisting other authors through the processes of editing, self-publishing and marketing their books. She resides with her husband and furry astral friend in sunny Colorado. For more info, contact her at email@example.com.