My mother died of a brain tumor when I was a teenage girl. She was 3 years older than I am right now. In my forties, when I started noticing disturbing lapses in my memory, and an increasing inability to locate my posessions, the thought did cross my mind that something ominous was taking over my brain. Last year, when I seemed to be having symptoms of a stroke, the doctors insisted on running a battery of tests. I knew I was not having a stroke. I get annoying acronymed disorders that people poke fun of and roll their eyes at, not REAL things. I did take the opportunity, however to put my brain tumor fears to rest, which I did. All the tests were normal. But what of the quirky mechanations of my brain? Even I had to chalk it up to too much stress. What else could it possibly be?
How had I not put it together? I guess I had moved five times, moved out of state, gave up on the love of my life, and watched my son grieve the death of his father. My plate was kind of full, but people have worse, I know that. However, as stupid as it sounds, the losing of keys and cell phones, and crucial documents, made everything so much more difficult. What the hell was wrong with me? Well the joke was on me. I was labeled with yet another acronym, ADD, and I realized it had been taunting me, stalking me viciously for the past several years.
Now that I know that these annoyances have a root cause, I can try to combat them. I have safeguards in place; hooks for my keys, an ADHD proof vitamin draw that I should trademark, and a bright orange owl plate to hold my rings at the end of the day. I am doing well! And then, tonight, I misplaced the gingerale. How can that possibly happen? It was on the counter earlier, and I had a whole conversation in my head about it. “So glad that stomach ache passed, I didn’t even have to open it. I’ll put it away for the next emergency. It’s tall and there aren’t a lot of places where it will fit….” I go blank after that. It’s now late and my stomach is killing me again. Where is the fucking gingerale??? I am looking everywhere. I am almost laughing at the absurdity of it. The time I waste looking for things is exasperating. Who looses a large bottle of gingerale? Where could it possibly be? I have such little faith in myself at this point that I am checking the guest bathroom, the dog food cabinet and briefly consider checking the porch. And suddenly the gap in my memory vaguely closes and I look next to the fridge. It is there. If it were aspirin and I was having a stroke I’d be screwed, actually that’s probably how I’ll check out, not knowing where something I need is, like my cell phone to dial 911.
I pour a glass of the soothing, bubbly, amber liquid. My mind goes back to a time many years ago. My son is a tiny boy. We live in a one bedroom apartment in Queens. I can’t find something and I am upset about it. He looks up at me with big brown eyes and sings the song from “Blues Clues.” “Go back, go back, go back, go back to where you were,” in the sweetest most patient little voice. He melts my heart. Now as I write this, tears fill my eyes. I am not my mother. I got to see my only child graduate High School. I am here now, to see him grow into a fine young man. I am blessed. I have a funky mind that I am yet to fully understand. In the grand scheme of things, I can handle that. I take a sip of ginger ale, my own mothers cure for every illness imagineable.. And now, I smile.