Tag Archives: memory loss

Need Something Lost? I’ve found your answer.

11 Nov


Ever since my daughter Maria was little, she has had the perfect knack for losing things. Keys, parts, phones, money, hearing aids, the other shoe, clothes, documents, you name it, Maria has lost them. And sometimes never to be found.

One year, in autumn, she lost my keys. We searched high and low, tore the house apart. Never found them. In December, I was removing the pumpkin from the porch, getting ready to replace it with Christmas decorations, guess what we found behind the little orange sphere? My keys. What were they doing THERE??? One of life’s mysteries, I guess.
Yesterday she was in the kitchen, looking for the honey.

“It’s over there, behind the burners on the stove, next to the olive oil,” I told her. She retrieved the jar and slathered some honey on her cornbread.
Last night I wanted the honey for my tea. I looked behind the burners on the stove, the kitchen table, the counters. Not there. I searched the cabinet where the spices are kept. No honey. I looked in the pantry. Nope. The fridge? Could she have? Honey doesn’t go in the fridge, I’ve told her over and over, because it crystallizes and hardens…nah, not there either, good.

I checked where the pots and pans go, the plates and cups, even checked the dishwasher. You never know. I looked in the living room. Not a trace. Her bedroom? Fear gripped me as I thought of venturing into her room. Cautiously, I opened the door (lest any of the debris leak out), poked my head in, and a quick visual search from the doorway revealed no honey jar there either. Whew. I exhaled deeply and shut the door. The bathroom? Could she have???? I won’t tell you what I did find there, but thankfully honey was not on that gross list.
I decided then that God only wanted me to put lemon in my tea last night, no honey, dear. This lesson has been learned over the years, that my attachment to things need not be more important than my relationship with my daughter. When she was very young (and still sometimes today), I would freak out. “Where did she put that? How could she have lost it? What happened? What the hell is going on?”

There were times when I yelled and screamed and blamed Maria for her carelessness and forgetfulness. Folly of course, because she probably inherited these traits from me. The stress I caused was unbearable sometimes. Over the years I learned that it did no good to yell at Maria, on the contrary, it was counterproductive in the extreme. The anxiety of the loss of something would transfer to her developing psyche and the damage was evident. The forgetfulness increased. The losses mounted. Unhappiness and chaos reigned. Fortunately I sought counsel from people I trust. I realized that things can be replaced, but my children’s well-being could be irreparably damaged by a mother on the warpath. I am learning to let go of my attachment to things, and instead value the quality of how I nurture my children. I aim for progress, not perfection in this arena. But over the years, we’ve gotten better both at being organized and at letting go.

This morning Maria rifled through the kitchen looking for something to eat, and again asked,  “Mom, where is the honey?”

I reminded her that she was the last one to use our favorite sweetener, I had no idea where she could’ve stashed it, and my search had proven fruitless.
We were both in the kitchen laughing hysterically then. She’ll finish high school next year, and we’ve been examining career options. Hey, Maria could work for the Mafia, no, nothing illegal. What about the CIA? If they need something “Lost,” just hand it over to Maria, the world’s official “Hider.” She’ll hide it so well that even she can’t find it. They can torture her, won’t matter, because she CANNOT remember, it’s like it never happened. “Honey? What honey? We had honey? I like honey!” Just keep swimming, Maria.

Maria came into the kitchen as I was writing. She sauntered over to the refrigerator for water. And guess what? She found the honey, hiding behind her sister’s leftovers. Another day here.



8 Aug


My daughter, her boyfriend, and I headed down to Gilroy this weekend. My cousin had booked us a room in the La Quinta motel there, because her granddaughter was getting married. That was a fabulous opportunity, to get to know my extended family better and help celebrate a new union.

But that’s not what I wanted to tell you.

This is:

We had to check out of our room at noon on Sunday, but the wedding wasn’t scheduled until 5 pm. So we packed our stuff, checked out, and headed out for lunch. Then we returned to the motel and sat at the picnic table outside my cousin’s room. Since she was staying another night, she still had her room.

My cousin’s room was adjacent to the motel laundry. I noticed the female workers cleaning the rooms, pushing the heavy housekeeping carts, and dropping the sheets from the second-floor balcony. Another worker sorted the linens and towels. These ladies worked tirelessly. Watching them, I realized I hadn’t left a tip for whoever cleaned the room where we stayed. I walked over to that room, 123, the door was ajar because the worker was inside. Knocked on the door, and when she answered, I handed her a five-dollar bill and told her I had forgotten to leave a tip. She smiled and thanked me. I returned to the picnic table.

A few minutes later, the worker came over to the table with my iPad in her hands. “You’re the one who stayed in Room 123, yes?” When I nodded, she handed me the iPad. “You forgot this!” It was my turn to smile and thank her.

I realized that if I had not made the effort to give her the measly five bucks, I wouldn’t have my six-hundred dollar iPad right now. Oh, she would’ve probably handed it in, and then the front desk would’ve put it in the lost and found until I claimed it. But that would require me to one, realize that it was missing, and then two, remember where I had left it.

But my memory has been failing me recently. This morning, my daughter informed me that I left my suitcase in the driveway. I guess I took it out of the car when we got home at nearly one in the morning, and then I forgot to bring it in the house. I’m fortunate that none of the night-freaks who prowl the streets helped themselves to my neglected luggage. And I’m very grateful for whatever Providence prompted me to reach out to the motel worker. Thanks for taking care of me.

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