The absent-minded mother

After three days of driving my kids all over town to their different activities this past weekend – squinting from the sun as I did so – I finally found the sunglasses I’d misplaced. It wasn’t until late Sunday afternoon that I unexpectedly caught a glimpse of them out of the corner of my eye, as I was driving home with my eight-year-old daughter.

“Look,” I said, pointing at them. “There they are!”

Perched directly below the windshield wipers in the groove between the hood and the front window were the sunglasses I’d been looking for. I was worried they would blow off the car until I realized they’d been there for days.

As soon as I was able, I pulled over to the side of the road and Daisy excitedly jumped out to retrieve them. I grabbed my camera to take a picture of where they’d been all weekend, amazed they were still there.

This wasn’t the first time I’d found an item I’d been searching for wedged somewhere on my car after driving around for awhile. It was a huge relief the day I found my iPhone in virtually the same spot as my sunglasses.

Not everything I’ve put on the top of my car has managed to survive though. Over the years various items and several cups of coffee have bit the dust on my absent-minded drive-a-ways. The worst was the time I backed up over my laptop computer which was sitting on the ground waiting to be put in the trunk.

Despite the reminder “Don’t forget to put your briefcase in your trunk,” from a helpful stranger who saw me herding my kids into the car one day in a rush, I did exactly that: I forgot to put my briefcase in my trunk.  And inside that briefcase was my brand new laptop.

I didn’t remember until minutes later, when I was driving down  the road, and heard it being dragged along underneath my car. Panicked, I pulled over to the side and desperately tried to free it from the firm grasp of the undercarriage of my Beetle.

“Our mom drove over her computer,” the kids explained to a lady walking by with her dog. I said nothing as I laid on the ground grunting and pulling at my bag which I eventually disengaged.

The briefcase, which was actually a computer bag, was badly ripped and had to be thrown out. And the underbelly of the car needed a bit of attention from the mechanic. But I felt very lucky that the computer still worked, even with the gravel and soot in the keyboard.

“Why are you so forgetful?” my 11 year old son asked after we told him about the sunglasses when we arrived home.

“Yeah, Mom,” my daughter said. “What’s up with that?”

Good questions. I guess I’m just trying to do too much, too fast,  as usual. Doing less and slowing down would make a ton of sense, so that’s what I’m going to do. If I can remember.

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Teflon brain – nothing sticks

As quickly as a thought enters my mind, it often exits even faster. And the older I get, the more this seems to be the case.

We need milk, bread and cheese, I might think to myself, chanting the words repeatedly inside my head until I can find a pen to write them on my hand. Oh right, we need some dental floss too. Oh good – I found a pen. Now what was it I needed again?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a “list girl”, making “to-do” lists, “to get” lists and “to write” lists.

“Sam!” our six-year-old daughter yelled at her nine-year-old brother the other day in the car when she didn’t like the tone he used with her. “That is no way to speak to a woman!”

Finding that funny and not wanting to forget, I pulled over to the side of the road to write it down.  If I hadn’t, I’m quite certain I would have forgotten her exact words, or maybe that she had said it at all.

Even in my dreams I’ll be inspired creatively and sometimes get a seemingly brilliant idea, but within seconds of waking up I’ve lost it forever. Unless, of course, I’m lucky enough to record it before it escapes my overcrowded brain.

As a result of my ongoing problem, I have a lot of pens, note pads and sticky notes in my life.

“Are you kidding me here?” my friend asked the other day when she got in my car and saw all the Post-its that were stuck to the dashboard. “Are you feeling a little overwhelmed or something?”

But that’s the thing about getting these thoughts out of my head and onto the paper – I immediately feel less overwhelmed. Once it’s written down, I no longer have the stress of trying to remember. It’s actually an enormous relief.

Of course, if one of those notes falls off my dashboard and gets stuck to the bottom of my shoe and then disengages itself from me outside of my car I might be in big trouble. This happened the day I lost the “get gas” note and ended up stuck on the bridge for almost an hour, without fuel.

I then needed to write a new note: “pay ticket.”  Naturally that one was far less urgent.

Lily Tomlin once described having “Teflon brain – nothing sticks.” I first heard this phrase when I was a kid and I didn’t get it. As a busy working mother of two, I now understand it all too well.

“You have your bag behind your car,” someone informed me one day as I was hurrying my kids into the beetle bug to get one of them to soccer and one of them to baseball.

“Thanks!” I said. “It’s my laptop! I wouldn’t want to drive over that!”

After getting the kids buckled up, their bags into the front seat and running back into the house again for their water bottles, I jumped in the car and backed out of the driveway and onto the road.

“What’s that sound?” the kids asked me after I wondered the exact same thing.

“That’s my computer wedged under the car and  scraping along the road,” I said far too calmly, pulling over to assess the damage.

Perhaps I could use a few Post-its that say: “slow down”, “breathe” and “don’t rely on sticky notes.”

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