Remembering not to forget family memories

Is it just me, or does one’s memory … um … I forget what I was going to write.

It seems as though that happens a lot these days, much more so now than before I had children.

It’s not just forgetting things like where I put the keys or an appointment time; it’s forgetting major things, like everything I learned in school.

How have I been getting through the past days, months and years not knowing what a vascular plant is?

No worries. I know what a vascular plant is now: a plant that has tubes. What is a tube? I can’t remember, but thankfully my son remembered on his science test and (BMA: Bragging Mom Alert!) managed to score an A+.

As our kids get older, I spend a lot of time helping with homework and studying for tests. I am re-learning most of what they are learning for the first time. Hopefully they will do a better job of retaining it than I have.

My sister-in-law is a teacher and she often helps her students remember things by showing them little “memory tricks.”

She taught me one of those tricks when I kept messing up the year my son was born.

“He was born on the 21st,” she said. “Two plus one is three. He was born in ’03. Get it?”

I got it. And I use this trick every time I call the pediatrician’s office.

So, while studying with my son for his science test, I started coming up with some tricks for him (and myself, because plant biology is probably a good thing for a person with a degree in agriculture to know) to use.

“What four things does a plant need to survive?” I asked him.

He paused, then said, “Sunlight … water …”

The correct answer was: light, air, water and nutrients.

“LAWN!” I blurted out before he could finish. “The lawn needs LAWN – light, air, water, nutrients – to survive! Get it?”

He got it. He thinks I’m a little nutty, but my son liked this trick and even shared it with his science teacher.

Aggravating as it is, my faltering memory is part of the reason I write this column every week (when I remember to). If I don’t put it in writing, I will forget what it was like raising a brood of three.

And maybe when we have grandchildren — and one of them knocks his brother’s tooth out “by accident” — I can say, “Oh! You did that, too! Remember?”

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