so, i flew directly from NYC back in time to 1976.
fresh off the plane, one foot in each world. i am your grown daughter, a 35 year old woman that stands before you smiling. and simultaneously in your dementia, i am your one year old baby in your arms smiling up at you.
“i keep telling him i have three children,” you say with a smile.
you hop around in time.
i never know where i’ll meet you.
but it doesn’t really matter, as long as i meet you there.
“what do you remember from 1976?” my brother asked me. “nothing,” i reply, “i was only one.” he, being eight years older than me remembers the stress and the parents fighting and being dragged down the street by our spry husky puppy.
when cornered, she seems to go back to a time of great transition. these times in her mind are not always happy places, although she is genuinely happy right now. it makes me happy to see her happy. i’m glad it’s no longer 1970. now i am born. we are are about to move from san diego to napa valley. now my memories are about to start with the apple green carpet and the holes in the fence and the splinters on the deck and the brown plaid curtains in the orange VW bus that shaped who i was to become as i grew into myself.
this confusion has no road map other than the heart. the emotion connected to milestones or stressors pop you back in and out of time. “let this be a lesson to you,” i tease my brother although we know the brutal truth that this is no joke. this, watching her deal with the unpleasantries of early marriage and early motherhood and postpartum anxiety while left alone in chicago will shape how i process everything from here on out. nothing can be shoved down forever… if you don’t deal with the emotions when they arise, you’ll have to deal with them when they conquer your mind at age 68.
and this is why i write.
even though i am grounded here firmly in 2010. my story is woven into yours and you carry me with you back to my childhood and i watch it all again with grown eyes and all i can say is that i learn of you. who you were then, as a woman my age. when i was one, you were 34. you are my peer. you are in my shoes and it makes me miss you as a woman.