One spring weekend in May, our extended family gathered to honor my father’s 90th birthday. His 2 children and spouses, several of the grandchildren, nieces and his only living sibling from 2 states away, all came together for the weekend celebration. Saturday morning, we were gathered together in Dad and Mom’s condo, sharing stories and reminiscing. Dad was soaking up all the attention from the comfort of his favorite recliner.
Neither of my parents was aware that their 2 granddaughters from the west coast were arriving as a birthday surprise. The plan was for each of them to arrive separately, to prolong the excitement. At the appointed time, the doorbell rang and everyone waited while Mom walked across the living room to open the front door. There stood the younger of the 2 granddaughters in the doorway. Mom cried out her name in surprise and welcomed her into the living room with a hug. Dad was so pleased to see his granddaughter and she proceeded directly over to where he sat and gave him a big hug and kiss.
About 5 minutes passed before the doorbell rang again. Mom wondered aloud, “Well, who could that be?” seemingly insinuating everyone was already in the room. She opened the door, looked at her oldest grandchild and exclaimed, “Who are you?”
All of us were taken aback, but none more than this granddaughter, who immediately started to tear-up, but not before responding, “Who am I? Why, I am your granddaughter!”
For a brief moment I saw the confusion on Mom’s face before she recovered enough to say, “Oh, of course! Come in, come in.”
The rest of us laughed it off and chalked it up to the stress of having so many people around. Seems logical, doesn’t it? The incident gave me a momentary pause, but, like everyone else in the room, I let it pass with no further comment. Something more than normal aging was occurring in Mom’s brain, but it was something none of us were ready to see, let alone acknowledge. Were we oblivious? Apparently, for the moment, that is exactly where our family resided.