Six years ago, when my daughter went to school for the first time as a high school freshman, I opened a blog about her new adventure from homeschool to high school. The blog was deleted from the server a couple of years ago, but I kept the posts, minus comments. Recently she asked me to send them to her, so I did, and I’ve also been reading through them myself. I had no idea how I was going to get through her teen years then, and I still don’t know how I made it now, a mere six months after she left teenhood behind.* This post, I think, is a perfect example of what I mean.
Scene: My daughter and I are driving home on from a Passover Seder in Cincinnati. We pass a storage unit facility with a display of colorful neon lighted palm trees and fireworks.
Reticula: That's really cool! I wonder when they put that up.
Daughter: Mom, it's always been there. You've seen it a hundred times.
Reticula: Huh uh. I've never seen it before. We've driven by a thousand times and I've never seen it there.
Daughter (sighs heavily): Mom. It. Has. Always. Been. There.
Reticula: When the Alzheimer’s gets bad, promise you'll take care of me.
Reticula: Promise you'll change my diapers. Don't let anybody else change my diapers.
Reticula: I've changed thousands of your diapers. You won't change mine?
Reticula: You're won't take care of your poor demented mom and change her diapers?
Reticula: Will you help me kill myself then?
* The irony does not escape me that my daughter is now changing her daughter’s diapers, and someday she too could have this conversation with the same conclusion. She is now aware that her time on earth is limited, and that she too must follow the laws of karma. That’s why she has apologized to me for being such an awful teenager and why she has started praying to whomever will listen--and nobody will, we all know that--that her daughter won’t put her through the same thing. I tell her birth was the least painful part of being a mother....She'll learn that on her own though.