We head to the car. It’s our first road trip in forever and I’ve gathered all the essentials into three bags. We’ve got the music, we’ve got the snacks, we’ve got all the appropriate clothing and we are right on time. We will arrive at our destination in exactly two hours and thirty minutes and the weekend of fun will begin.

I strap in the kid.

My husband turns the key.

“Let’s hit the road!” I cry

.

“Do you have the toll money?” he asks as he shifts the gear into reverse.

“Wallet…wallet…” I mutter, as I feel around for a bulge in my back pocket and find nothing.

“I think I have to go back inside.” I say.

My husband stops the car, removes the keys and hands them back to me. I run into the house and retrieve my wallet from the bottom of the laundry pile.

I head back to the car.

I hand up the keys and my husband once again starts the car. I strap myself in and quickly go over the little mental checklist of everything that I was supposed to pack. The wallet thing has rattled my sense of competence in the whole packing arena. “I’ve got a feeling I didn’t pack the wipes.” I say.

“Do you need the keys?” My husband asks.

“No keep the car running,” I say. “I’m just going to check.”

I unload the contents of all three bags and finally find the wipes. “We’re good to go,” I say.

“I want water!” says Sage.

“Water. Right water,” I say. “That’s what I didn’t pack.”

My husband is already handing me the keys. I race upstairs and fill up a cup. When I return to the car, flustered and out of breath I see Sage drinking water with a big grin.

“You packed the water,”  my husband says.

“Right,” I say, “of course,” and hand him up the keys.

Sage takes a big slurp of her drink and then turns to me with this sympathetic gaze. As we pull out the driveway and begin our journey she leans towards me and says, “Mommy, I used to be your age when I was born.”

I laugh, my husband laughs, Sage laughs and we head for the highway. But somewhere in the drive I start replaying the line, “Mommy, I used to be your age when I was born.” And the more I hear it the more it occurs to me that maybe my two year old is taking a crack at my intelligence. Last week she told me that she was two and I was four. Though off by thirty years in her estimation of my age, the important thing to note was that my daughter perceived me to be older that she. I was, at the very least a big kid in her eyes. But now, now she was clearly suggesting with her statement that she had surpassed me. She had moved beyond.

And if this indeed her perception, I can’t really say that I blame her. When it comes to competence and wit and memory and overall sharpness I do seem to be lacking of late. It’s almost as if I am devolving. It’s like I’m aging down as the rest of the world ages up.

The whole packing fiasco is just one minor example of my inability to remember what has just come before. I’ll be at the grocery store and I’ll throw a pack of cheese into the cart. Then two isles down I’ll think, “Oh crap I forgot the cheese”. SO I’ll go back and throw in another pack. Then as I head to the checkout lane I’ll think, “did I forget the cheese?” So I’ll rummage through the cart only to discover two cheeses. “Who the hell put two cheeses in here?” I’ll wonder. “Is someone trying to push cheese on me? Sage, stop grabbing cheese off the shelf.” I’ll say, and she’ll just look at me like, “are you sure you’re fit to be pushing me around in this cart?” And it’s not just limited to errands and household tasks. It happens at parties; it happens when I’m working, it happens when I’m reconnecting with friends.

“What have you been up to?” someone will ask. And I’ll just freeze like I’m guilty of something terrible and know it will all come spilling out if I open my mouth. “Umm I’ve been…ummmm…I’m sure that I did something yesterday…something important. But I just can’t remember what.”

It’s like I’m a goldfish.

And my language skills aren’t what they used to be either. I point and grunt. I look at a rocking chair and for the life of me I can’t remember what it’s called. “Honey can you hand me that book? It’s sitting on top of the thing, the noisy thing, the thing for sitting and nursing. No not the breast pump! The thing. Right there. Oh never mind, I’ll get it.” If I were the coxswain on a crew team my boat would sink. Even writing this one line metaphor took me fifteen minutes because I couldn’t remember the name of the thing you row when you are on a crew team. I googled scuttle but it turns out that’s a metal bucket used for carrying coal. I googled “What’s the name of the thing you row when you are on a crew team?” and I was led to a web page that tried to recruit me for The Rochester Community Boat Club. I googled “pictures of crew teams” and finally got a diagram that with a little arrow pointing to a crew boat. It read “boat”. The word for a fucking crew boat is boat? How could I have forgotten the word boat?

Meanwhile as I struggle to remember my own name my two- year-old can tell you the name of the waitress who brought her a cup of apple juice three weeks ago. It is simultaneously astonishing and completely depressing.

So that’s it, my destiny is carved out. I’m getting younger and younger with each passing day. I’m losing my words and loosing my memory. Soon I’ll begin having tantrums when I’m in need of something. I just won’t have any other way to express my needs. My husband and daughter will have to pick up the slack for me. When we go out they’ll translate my ramblings to the general public. “What she really means to say is ‘can you please pass the butter.'” Soon I’ll have no choice but to live in the absolute present. I’ll forget what came before and won’t be able to think ahead to worry about the future. Maybe I’ll become enlightened. That is enlightenment right? I think that’s what it’s called when you’re just living with no thought. Enlightenment…

Oh hell, I can’t remember!

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