It was a lovely afternoon today, nice breeze, not too hot. We were out back on the covered patio, enjoying the weather. William jumped in her lap and sat there, eyes half closed, grin on his face, as she scratched him in all the right places.
“Mom came over this morning, you know. She and Pop are around here somewhere. Well, he’s not your father, I know, but we call him Pop.”
“Oh? Did you have a nice visit?”
“No, she didn’t have time to talk. They’re busy painting the hall downstairs.”
(My younger sister called our father “Pop.” I’ve heard about Ruth and Reuben painting the hall before, but Ruth never had anything to do with her son-in-law, my father. So she was confusing me, her husband, her mother, her stepfather, and Phyllis, her 1st cousin/half sister!)
“Too bad. What color are they painting it?
“Light blue, I think. I haven’t been down stairs to see it yet. We can go, if you like.” (She was thinking she was in her upstairs bedroom in the old brick house where she and her mother lived before her mother married Reuben. She was about six when that happened.)
“Maybe I’ll see them when I leave. It’s almost your supper time, so I have to go in about 20 minutes.”
“Well, I know she’d like to see you again.” (Ruth, my grandmother, died before I was born.)
“Do you know who I am?”
“Of course! You’re Tina, our Tina.”
And who are you?”
“I’m Tina’s mother, silly!” She laughed at her own joke. Mother/daughter/sister, etc. are just words anymore, but she got the factual relationship right for a moment.
I’d been there about an hour and could tell she was getting tired. I asked her a few things about the old brick house, but she kept saying, “My memory’s not as good as it used to be.” I assured her that’s okay, it happens to all of us.
I see her at least once a week. Two weeks ago she seemed sleepy and out of it. Last week I met her at a doctor’s office in town. Today she was happy, upbeat, talkative, and we didn’t even have to sing anything. I told her I’ll see her next Sunday and bring her some watermelon. She seemed excited about that.