I wouldn't share this on Facebook -- unless I hid it from certain family members -- but Donna's post has inspired me to write about a lapse in memory I had yesterday that really freaked me out.
I am FB "friends" with a first cousin once removed on my father's side, Allison. Her father and I are first cousins, and she had posted some vacation photos of her father and mother. They were very nice pictures, and I was marvaling at how good my cousin, her dad, was looking at his age. I wanted to leave a comment that included a message to her dad, but I couldn't get his name to come to me. So I made the comment without using his name, but it really bugged me that I couldn't get his name to come to me. Sure, he's quite a bit older than I am -- not like we "grew up" together -- but I was the kind of kid who knew ALL of my first cousins' names on both sides of my family (and that was more than 60 first cousins) by the time I was six years old, even ones I didn't associate with much.
So I was sitting at the computer, counting on my fingers, and naming off all the siblings of this first cousin, trying to get his name to come to me. I was muttering and fussing and actually clutching my hair in frustration. Thomas was no help at all. I started reciting this cousin's sibling's names out loud, hoping it would help me remember.
"Okay, so Jerry's the oldest. The other boys are Roger, Dean, Bobby, and Stuart. And there are the girls, Bonnie and Joan. But who is this one!?! What name am I leaving out!?!"
Then I'd say the names again in a different order. "Jerry, Bonnie, Joan, Roger, Bobby, Stuart, Dean! Who is the other one?!?"
Then I tried a different tactic. I threw in my aunt's and uncle's names to see if that might work. "Okay," I said to myself, patiently. "Uncle Burton and Aunt Vera's kids were...Jerry, Bonnie, Roger, Joan, Bobby, Dean, Stuart, and...." But that last name just wouldn't come to me.
I was seriously, seriously beginning to get worried about the state of my mind. This family lived just down the road from us. Yes, I grew up with their children, not them, because of the age difference, but these were cousins I saw on Sundays at my Grandmother Dowell's house. Their father was one of my dad's brothers closest to him in age; their mother was a first cousin of my mother. There was interaction and socialization between the two families! I saw them at family funerals and reunions! This particular one I'd had a very long conversation with at the last family reunion I'd gone to a few years ago, and he'd introduced me to his newest newborn grandson and told me how much he liked that his daughter had given the baby "Dowell" as a middle name. I could remember how this cousin and his brother Stuart looked when they were teens, about the same age as my brother Alton, and how I really admired their side burns! I was determined that I would not call my mother to ask her the name of Aunt Vera's son, Allison and Neal's father, and I said as much out loud to Thomas!
And that did the trick. When I said, "Allison and Neal's father" it came to me. Blindingly. Embarrassingly.
It was Bobby!
There was no missing sibling. Just a missing brain. Mine! I'd put him in the list and searched frantically for the one I was missing when there wasn't one missing. And I felt very, very foolish.
I have a feeling I'd better get used to that feeling.