Dear Grandparenting: A funny thing happened to me on the way to my 73rd birthday last Sunday. I forgot most of what I did during my 72nd year, or my 71st to be honest.
I didn’t forget everything. I still have most of my marbles and make it a point to get 25 minutes of exercise daily and read everything I get my hands on. It’s like someone hit my fast forward button and whoosh went the years.
I say this because my five grandchildren attended the party for my 73rd birthday. I hadn’t seen my two grandsons in over four years since they live in San Diego. I well remember the last time I saw them. We played catch in their back yard with a little toy football. Now they both play high school soccer and run track.
I was sort of stumped when my grandsons asked what I enjoyed most this past year. Nothing really stands out. It all runs together. My granddaughters are doing great too. I am lucky to have such fine grandchildren. But why can’t I remember more to tell them? Seriously Stumped, Atlanta, Georgia
Dear Stumped: Childhood seems to roll out in slow motion, filling our memory banks with flashbacks and assorted recollections. Moving through middle age, we begin to notice gaps in our ability to recall past events.
Then things start to go whoosh all right. The passage of time seems to accelerate and becomes blurred. Months and years meld together, creating imprecise sections of time in our memory during which nothing much seems to have happened.
Here’s why: An event or activity is memorable to the degree it is new. You may never forget the first time you attended a major league baseball game, but the 10th game? And as we age, our memory banks become filled with a lifetime of experiences and facts, leaving less room for later entrants. There’s a limit to how much we can reasonably remember.
Many grandparents follow a set daily routine. Maybe it’s golf and card games or gardening and reading. It’s a way to pass time, not mark time. Scientists are unsure how the brain tracks time, but one fact stands out: Time exists as a byproduct of the events that occur within it. Grandparents who spend time with their grandchildren get the gift of something to remember.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Ethan Reynolds, of Dayton, was catching up with grandson Jack, 6, when Jack changed the conversation.
“Salad is ruining my life,” announced Jack. “It kills my appetite just thinking about dinner at home.”
“How so?” said Ethan.
“Salad is just weeds, plain and simple. I don’t do weeds.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.