Monday, April 25, 2011

Rewriting History

Even now that I am 40 I still pride myself on having a razor sharp short term memory. Most of the time. I am not counting when I ask a question and am distracted at that precise moment by a screeching child and a crash from the other room so I miss the answer. But on most days my recall is impressive. Ask me to recall my schedule for the next month. Or my children's schedules, or the names of all my children's friends and their birthdays and their parents names. I have it all up there and can pull it out at will. It is my long term memory that has decided to check out.

My sister (who is not yet 40) has the long term memory of an elephant. I love talking with her about our childhood because it is often like listening to story time at the library. Most of the more generic anecdotes I can conjure up some vague recollections when prompted. Remember our trip to so and so where we did such and such she will ask? Um, no, I say and then think. Really hard. So hard that my brain manages to push aside the useless collection of celebrity trivia, 80s song lyrics, and other memories that are taking up valuable real estate in my cranium. Oh yes - I finally exclaim! I was wearing my lime-green tube top and my hair in a side pony tail. And thats about all I've got. Whereas she is rattling off what we ate and the scratchiness of the sheets on the guest bed we slept. For all I know she could be making half of these memories up just to mess with me. Though I doubt it because my sister is the worst liar ever. Oh wait, that is actually my husband.

It turns out my daughter, who is 8, does not have my short term memory. She can't remember where she put her book down five minutes earlier. She can't remember what she did at school day. Or if she went to school that day. She couldn't remember breaking our ceiling fan yesterday, and she sincerely meant it when asked to recount how it happened. And I believe her since she is also a terrible liar. Luckily her brother remembered for her and gave a blow by blow account. But he is actually a really good liar, so it may or not be true.

Instead, my daughter has a variation on my sister's memory. I say variation because she takes actual events that occurred, such as dinner at a particular restaurant from two years ago. But then she alters them to change the story from *it was a ho hum place that served ho hum burgers and fries* to *it was the best place ever, and the fries melted in your mouth like slices of heaven*. She doesn't completely rewrite history. She has never taken an event that was an epic fiasco and turned it into a fabulous outing that was beloved by the entire family. Instead she likes to take the mediocre and embellish it a bit.

Sometimes these embellishments work in my favor, as in the case of our spring break. It was really boring and uneventful. Originally I had envisioned a week of down time when we could all just relax, chill out and take it easy. I forgot that I don't do *relax* or *chill out* or *take it easy* so instead it became an interminable week of boredom. It was so boring I actually had to check my pulse a few times to make sure I was still alive. Not miserable, no one got sick or injured. Just boring. And the more bored I became the less I was able to combat the boredom until I am convinced that if it had gone on one day longer I would have turned into a pile of inert goo.

Luckily for me my daughter has already rewrote the week's events for me. It wasn't boring at all! She got to read 10 books! She got to stay in her pajamas until noon most days! One day for breakfast she got to try six different sugary cereals from the cereal variety pack! She had Happy Meals four times, more than she has had the rest of the year combined! Mommy took them to the park where they could ride their bikes every night because there was nothing better to do! And baths were optional! And to add her own embellishment of reality I am sure there was candy every day! And the television stayed on 24/7!

So maybe spring break wasn't the excruciating week that I remember. Given enough time my failing long term memory will be easily persuaded to accept this new version. But in the meantime my sharp as a tack short term memory will spur me into action to come up with a more aggressive activity schedule for the summer. Because boring is just too...boring.


  1. Shawna,
    This is so hilarious. I especially like the part about the side-ponytail. I, too, was a victim of the side-ponytail, but if it weren't for the photos my mother took to immortalize the embarassment, I would've easily blocked it out.
    Can't wait to read about the Paris trip. Look out, French people!

  2. The good thing about no long-term memory is that everything you do is shiny and new! :)