Much of yesterday, I was unable to talk, due to WTF-ish tongue and throat trouble. In the late afternoon, as LG was scurrying around preparing her backpack and her fashion ensemble for the first day of middle school today, I pulled her close to me.
“I’m sorry that I’m so grumpy so often these days. And I’m sorry that you have to do so much on your own, to get ready for school. I know you’re doing more than most 11-year-olds have to do. I keep hoping and praying that very soon I’ll be well again and our lives can get back to normal.”
“It’s OK, Mom,” she said brightly. “I don’t remember when you weren’t sick, so this seems normal to me.”
She was trying to be kind and supportive. It went through me like a knife. This is what I have feared. She was 9 1/2 when the fever started, that turned out to be related to kidney stones, the treatment of which is what I believe caused WTF Disease when she was 10. I know she’s telling the truth. Our most vivid childhood memories are from after that age. Her experience of me is now primarily of someone who sits around, doesn’t say much, does even less, and requires a lot of help from her.
I asked her all sorts of questions about, “Remember the time…?” Mostly she didn’t. She didn’t remember all the time I was in her first and second and third grade classrooms. Or in her Brownie troop. Or teaching her Vacation Bible School classes, Sunday School classes. Or her second year of pre-school when the teachers said she really should be in school every day, but I resisted and established “Girl Friday,” when she stayed with me and we did fun things all day every Friday. She doesn’t remember all the years when she and I tagged along on Jif’s business trips to various cities, and we went out on our own, riding the trolleys and buses, visiting the museums and parks, while he attended his meetings. Her experience of us tagging along on his business trips is more like the most recent trip to Virginia Beach, where the most exciting activity I could offer her was snuggling together on the hotel bed and ordering an on-demand movie. She was her Daddy’s date for the dinner cruise while I stayed in and had room service alone.
I hate WTF. Please continue to pray with me that it leaves soon. One way or another. I want my daughter to know me as me. Not as sick me. (Truth be told, I’m forgetting me, too.)