I’m not even sure where to begin. It has finally dawned on me, after thirty-five plus years of existence, how hard your life must have been when I was a child. It has also occurred to me that I can rightly assume one-fifth or one-fourth of the blame for your hardships, depending on whether we had a foster kid living with us that year.
Now that I am a mother, I have learned so much about you. I understand you in a way my brother and sister never will — at least, not unless they have kids.
I now understand why you sometimes called me by my brother’s name and called my sister by the cat’s. I can see why you sometimes re-checked door locks and the oven four or five times to make sure you really locked or turned them off. You seemed totally crazy when it happened, but now it makes perfect sense why we turned around a half-hour into our family vacation to make sure the iron was unplugged.
How did you ever manage with so many things to think about and take care of? It’s understandable now how you once spent an hour looking for a jar of peanut butter that was in your hand. Oh, the guilt I have over how my siblings and I roared over your apparent looniness at the time.
Now, too, I no longer question the sanity of a woman who trusts her nose. My brother and sister and I snickered when you sniffed at the air like a piqued pointer. We chuckled when you thought you smelled gas in the house, and we snorted when you announced that the milk (which still had days to go before the expiration date) was soured. Alas, now I, too, have the olfactory super-powers of a mother. I think of you every time I catch a whiff of something suspicious. (I mean that in the nicest possible way, of course.)
How can I possibly right all of the wrongs I’ve caused you? Is there any way to make up for the mountains of heartache and headache I unknowingly heaped upon your young motherhood?
Oh, yes… Grandkids.