Last March when I went to California, I recall being eager and well-rested. That may or may not be reality, but this time, I feel a hundred years old and decidedly not prepared.
And here are some notes I must make before I forget.
My daughter’s first tooth fell out on Monday. She came downstairs saying, “My tooth fell out!” I responded with excitement: “Let me take your picture!” and she burst into tears. Losing that tooth scared her. I held her and rubbed her back and soon, she was okay. I said, “Where’s the tooth?” She had no idea. She’d been eating strawberries and . . . uh, I think she ate the tooth. Fortunately, she has only a rudimentary understanding of the tooth fairy, so we’re off the hook there.
Between work shifts on Monday, I drove 45 minutes up I-5 to wish my grandma a happy 102nd birthday. I wasn’t sure she’d even know I was there. My cousin welcomed me into her house and ushered me to the room where Grandma was stretched out on a brass-framed bed. The image reminded me of two things: a queen on her throne and a corpse in her casket. The bed was situated in the very center of the room, diagonal to the walls. It dominated the room. Thus, the queen-like image. But, oh, my poor grandma has aged ten years since I last saw her on February 1. Her eyes were half-open, glazed, her mouth gaped open. Her hands were folded on her chest. Her eyelids were sunken, her brow-bones prominent. She looked dead. Shockingly dead.
I sat and watched her. After awhile, an aunt came and touched her hands and to my utter shock, she responded. She asked who I was and I told her and her mind was right there. She knew me, held my hand with both of hers. She asked where my family was (at home since Grace had a cold) and we had a little conversation. I told her the daffodils are blooming–she always loved flowers so much. Macular degeneration stole most of her eyesight, but she has some peripheral vision, so she could tell when anyone came near.
I stayed for an hour and a half . . . it was such an unexpected surprise to be able to wish her happy birthday, to have her know me still, to have her warm, veiny hands hold my hand to her heart. I also enjoyed talking to my other relatives.
And now, I must go to bed. I wish I felt more prepared and less guilty.
Oh, I have to tell you this, too.
On my last three trips, I have lost my mind in various ways.
When I went to the mountains on a scrapbooking retreat, I forgot my underpants.
On a trip to visit friends from high school, I forgot my deodorant.
In New York, I remembered everything . . . except one day, I arrived at the office, noticed my damp armpits and realized I forgot to put on my deodorant.
I am just hoping to arrive in California with underpants, socks and deodorant in my bag. Everything else is just a bonus.