Friday, March 23, 2012

Grandma always loved me anyway

original run date February 7, 2012
Chariton Valley News Press

It is so frustrating - walking into a room and forgetting what the reason was for being there. Worse yet is making a phone call and completely forgetting who I called when they say hello. My kids love to tell me I’m just getting old. The problem is, I have had trouble in the memory department for years.
My husband will occasionally break out in uncontrollable laughter for no reason what-so-ever. When I ask him what could have possibly caused the outburst, he looks at me with such innocence. I always regret asking him after that because the answer is always, “remember those two times you forgot Grandma Bixenman in town and rode the bus home?”  He knows it will make me sigh and then threaten him with consequences I won’t put in print. He just can’t help himself - he has to laugh.
When I was in high school, I was not allowed to drive to school everyday. We had one vehicle that was not a farm truck and that was Mom’s car. The school bus drove right by the house and Dad always claimed he paid taxes so I could have the honor of riding the big yellow box of screaming little kids to school and back home. The only exception was on Wednesday.
Grandma Bixenman went to the Senior Center on Wednesday to eat lunch with her friends and play pitch all afternoon. Once I turned 16, I was allowed to drive her big green Impala, aka the boat, to pick her up and drop her off at the Senior Center.   She was always finished playing cards before I got out of school She would walk to Red Cross and visit with whoever was at the fountain until I picked her up after school. My problem was I was always involved in a lot at school or had my nose in books when the final bell rang. I was not used to walking out the south door and getting in a car. I was accustomed to going out the north doors and crawling on the big yellow bus.
The first time I left Grandma in town, everyone got quite a laugh out of it-everyone that is but Mom. She was standing on the front porch when I stepped off the bus. With her hands on her hips, she yelled over the sound of the big diesel motor – “where exactly is Grandma and her car?”  UH OH!
 I was studying and had completely forgotten it was Wednesday. Let’s just say it was a long five miles back to town when Mom had to stop what she was doing to take me back to the car and Grandma. Thank goodness Grandma Bixenman had a sense of humor about it.
The second time it happened, about a year later, nobody laughed. Mom was actually standing by the car when I got off the bus. She had seen it turn off the highway and knew I screwed up again. Once again I had my nose in a book, and again, I wasn’t used to driving a vehicle to town.
It almost happened a third time my senior year of high school. Thank goodness Joyce Perry, a family friend, was my bus driver. I didn’t even get my foot on the first step and she started laughing. Between the fits of laughter, she reminded me it was Wednesday and Grandma was waiting for me. I’m sure Joyce told Mom about it but I kept quiet.
I wish I could say I have never forgotten people since then but sadly, I can’t. In the first few weeks after Jake was born, life was a bit chaotic. I had a four year old, a two year old, and a newborn. Larry and I were managing the feed store on our own, so I bravely packed up the troops every morning and headed into the office.
I had gotten into the habit when both girls became mobile of taking a head count whenever I left a store to make sure I had not lost one of my active toddlers in the store somewhere. I had been doing that for quite a while and was used to always coming up with two kids before it was safe to leave anywhere.
Adjusting to three turned out to be a bit of a challenge. Let’s just say the day I realized, when checking out at IGA, I was short one child was when the reality of having three kids in 4 years hit home. The very fast, two-block trip back to the office to wake the sleeping red head seemed like it took a year.
She never knew that I had slipped back into pre-Jake days and was comfortable leaving the office with just two kids. The trauma to my mom psyche was long withstanding though. I never left anywhere for years after that without counting heads at least three times before deciding I had everybody. I cried for about a week after that incident.
The instances of forgetting my loved ones have decreased over the years. There have been a few occasions when Jake had to call us to pick him up after  practice but those weren’t entirely my fault. I will forever contend that I told Larry or Joni to get him those nights. Larry swears I forgot him – he uses the excuse that since I forgot Grandma twice, it makes more sense that I’m the one that messed up.  I say Larry has selective hearing and chose to not pay attention to me that day.
As I’m rolling through my 40’s and other signs of aging are creeping up on me, I chuckle to myself once in a while. While many of my friends are discussing getting old and forgetful, I’m going to claim youth for just a while longer. There is no way you can say memory loss is a sign of old age for me – I’ve been forgetting things since the 80’s!  The best part about that is my Grandma loved me anyway because she knew exactly how I felt.

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