I’m a single mom of two children. They are awesome and I love them so much. But part of being a single mom is remembering a lot of shit. I have to pack lunches, schedule parent/teacher conferences, and doctors appointments. There is so much to do all the time and I never get a break.
I’m used to the constant and persistent workload, but my memory has certainly taken a toll as a result of having to do so much.
I can’t remember shit.
I remember the important things—pediatrician appointments, school events, and playdates. But there is one thing that I suck at remembering: the names of other parents.
I’m dropping my daughter off at pre-k. We share a hug and a kiss and I’m approached by this woman with sandy blonde hair. She is so lovely and nice. I really like her a lot. But I have no fucking idea what her name is.
“Hi Sarah! How’s it going?”
Oh my God. She knows my name. This is so embarrassing. What am I going to do now? Shit, fuck, balls.
I need to come up with something because she’s standing there smiling at me so…I…say…
“Well, you know, Samara had a tantrum on the way to school because she stepped in a puddle. How’s Joey doing?”
That’s the weird thing, I remember Joey’s name. I remember this extremely nice blonde woman’s son’s name. I have no idea why. We’ve never had a play date with them. I somehow know her child’s name, but I cannot remember hers. I’m so ashamed of myself. I want to crawl in a hole and die just for today. Tomorrow, I’ll go to Staples and buy a notebook and start writing down the names of all the adults I interact with at school. I’m a terrible person. I should be put in a home for people who suck at life.
“Sarah? Is everything OK?”
This woman is staring at me because I haven’t said anything for exactly 60 seconds and have been staring into space like a moron.
“Oh, I’m fine. I was just trying to remember something…”
She starts to laugh.
“It’s funny, isn’t it?” she says. “My memory is so bad. Before I had kids I credited myself for having a great memory. So much for that. I can’t remember anything anymore.”
We both share a laugh and I realize that maybe it’s not just me. Perhaps we all struggle with these problems, and not remembering things is a universal parenting dilemma. She remembered my name, but maybe she forgets other things like what she has in the fridge for dinner or what time her parent/teacher conference is. I start to feel less like a fuck up and more like an actual human being and I laugh. She laughs. We laugh together.
“Well, I’ve got to go. I forgot that the plumber is coming this morning to fix the toilet,” I say.
She smiles and I wave goodbye to my kid. Then I look at Joey and say, “I’m gonna eat your face. It looks delicious.” I tickle Joey, who laughs and runs behind his mom, whose name I can’t remember.
My memory for the names of other adults is non-existent. But at least I’m good at other things, like eating children’s faces and making them laugh.