Most of my reading is done at Grandma's house. By the front window or on her sofa. Kiana often comes over to read in the cool house also. No matter whether it is me or Kiana, whether we are sitting in strong light or in shadows, Grandma will say,
"I don't think you have enough light there. You are going to ruin your eyes. Turn on a light."
We may already have the light on or we may be squinting from the sunlight coming through the window, but my mother still has to say these words. That's what she's done for 50 some years, that's what comes out of her mouth automatically.
You know how when you are late to going somewhere and you look at your watch just to see if you're going to make it to your deadline? I will glance at my watch and think,
"Good, I still have time." (or "Bad, I'm already 5 minutes late.")
But maybe a few minutes later I'll think,
"What time is it, anyway?"
I looked at that watch but the time didn't register in my brain. Just whether I was late or not.
I watch my mother and think that this must be how her brain cells work these days... She carries on a normal conversation, does normal activities yet some things just don't register.
Like the turning on the light conversation above. Another one is suggesting that she take us out to dinner.
Practically daily my mother will suddenly look up and say,
"Why don't I take us all out to dinner?"
It matters not that we have just come HOME from dinner out, or maybe my mother will be watching Marcy COOK dinner when she makes the invitation.
"Thank you anyway, Grandma. I think we'll eat this tonight."
Another of Grandma's idiosyncrasies is addressing Marcy's news of the day with,
"How do YOU know?"
Some daughter-in-law's could get a little huffy about that...
"I just KNOW these things, Grandma. Trust me."
I can also predict the routine that goes with my mother her checking her purse. Grandma has a big ol' BLACK purse (in all my life I have never seen her carry anything but a BLACK purse. She did not believe in color for purses or shoes... She said black purses and shoes matched her hair. So actually she should be carrying a white purse these days but you get the point.)
The routine goes... Out comes the wallet. Unzip the wallet and check if there is money. At that point if there is money then she'll zip up the wallet and put it back in the purse. If there isn't any money then she'll make the comment that she needs to go to the bank and THEN zip up her wallet and put it back in the purse. The purse will go down on the floor beside her. But in a few minutes, she will pick the purse back up again and pull out her wallet. Her brain is thinking
"Hmm. I wonder if I have money for something." but it doesn't register that she has already checked for it.
She can do this as long as the purse is in her line of vision. It can drive us (me) batty.
And how many times this summer has Grandma asked Kiana what grade in school she is in. It's not like they haven't seen each other in months. I wonder why Grandma does not think it odd that she's asking her granddaughter whom she LIVES with about what grade in school she is. Even if she can't remember the answer, isn't it logical to think you've probably had this conversation before? I guess not... Grandma sees Kiana and asks the same ol' question.
"What grade are you in school now Kiana?"
And Kiana just smiles and politely gives the same answer.
It makes me smile. It perplexes me. It makes me a little wistful. I'm grateful that most else about Grandma this summer seems up to par. It must be a normal part of aging.
"How do YOU know?"