My daughter, Tessa, and I made a trip to Walmart yesterday to gather supplies for her 12th birthday party. As we were leaving the store with food and party paraphernalia for 15 preteen girls and enough extra-strength/extra-alcohol pain blockers to keep my husband calm for 12 hours, I turned to tell Tessa to stay close to me in the parking lot . . . just as I have told her every time we have left Walmart since she grew too big to ride in the buggy seat.
But yesterday, the words stuck in my throat. With a flash of clarity, I turned and saw a budding young lady where my baby had been. It was then that I realized that time had taken off, flown by, and gone on to circumnavigate the globe a couple of times while I wasn’t looking.
I stopped at the sliding door to let Tessa walk out first. I didn’t want her to see the tears in my eyes.
I also did not want her to realize that as time soared by, I got caught in the turbulence and it evidently has left me mentally dysfunctional and unable to remember things . . . like where the crap I had parked the car that day.
As I walked out of the store, my plan was to covertly follow her memory to the van and hope that mine could find the way home. As we pulled out of the parking lot, I began a prayer vigil for Tessa that I plan to continue for many years.
“Lord, please send a guardian angel to protect Tessa. She is good. She is precious. And she is the child most likely to take care of me as time picks up speed and dementia rushes my way.”
She is the most likely to:
. . . Stand beside me in public and whisper in my ears the names of acquaintances in town, friends at church and those of my children who don’t come home regularly.
. . . Recover all my lost items: my purse, my shoes, my diet coke bottle and the Fisher-Price keys that my family will give me when they take away the set that actually starts the car.
. . . Follow behind me through the day turning off the stove, blowing out the fires and closing the flaps of my robe as I wander around the neighborhood.
. . . Match my house shoes to my robe so I can wander with a bit of style.
. . . Lick her finger and blend in the blush that I will have applied to my forehead.
“Lord, please send a battalion of angels. Choose your most diligent. Arm them with swords and shields. Hide a bazooka or two under their robes. Tell them to circle Tessa toe to toe and wing tip to wing tip to keep her safe from all danger for at least another 30 years.
She is the child most likely to care for me and keep me out of the nursing home when time picks me up to fly my last mental loopty-loop and crashes me into the Sea of Senility.”