Nothing can ever prepare you for it—that moment when you realize you’ve become your mother or father, or both. I had one of those moments a few weeks ago, driving with my husband and daughter. I commented on another car I saw (technically I called out a “slug bug”…yes, we still do that). Then not more than a couple of minutes later, I made the same comment…with absolutely no recollection of having already made it.
“You just said that,” they said to me, to which I responded, “No, I didn’t.” It took some convincing, and even after I cajoled myself into believing them, I still didn’t remember those words coming out of my mouth.
Then the ribbing started: “It’s bad enough you don’t listen to us when we talk to you. Now you’re not even listening to yourself.”
As I began to apologize (for the millionth time for this very transgression), I had a flashback to conversations I had with my mom when she was about my age.
They usually went something like this:
Her: “When do you work this week?”
Me: [telling her the days and times.]
Her [just minutes later]: “When do you work this week?”
Me: “You already asked me that. God, Mom, don’t you ever listen to me? It’s like you don’t care about what I have to say…”
I’ve experienced a version of that amnesiac round-robin with my husband and daughter more times than I can remember (literally). It was during the one in the car that my brain made what could be one of the most sanity-saving connections of my life.
When my mom was about the same age as I am now (mid-forties), she was diagnosed with ADHD. I still remember the day she got the news: She cried with relief because, as she told me, “My whole life I thought I was stupid. Now I know what it really was.”
And I’m beginning to wonder if it’s the same with me.