I’ve never been very good with names. When I meet someone new for the first time, I can forget their name instantaneously. If I’m not too embarrassed, I’ll ask them to repeat their name a second time. Or, if I’m with someone else who knows that person, I’ll whisper to them, “what was that person’s name again?” Even so, that won’t guarantee that I’ll remember that person’s name the next time I see them.
As a stay-at-home mom, I’m meeting new mothers all the time, whether it’s through my kids or through other moms. And, I also have friends and acquaintances through my non-mommy life, which includes tennis, writing classes, and volunteer work. Sometimes I have to re-orient myself if I see someone out of context and figure out how I know him or her.
Back in November, I had an encounter with another mom that made me think my long-term memory is shot. Early dementia here I come. I was in the grocery store, doing a major shop, because we finally had our power restored after Hurricane Sandy had knocked it out for 9 long, dark days. I was joyously grabbing items that I could once again freeze and refrigerate and suddenly I hear a cheerful, “Hi Emily!”
I turned to look at this person, and I had absolutely no idea what her name was. What’s worse, she only looked vaguely familiar. I assumed she was a mom and she had a child or children in school with one of my boys. But still, I drew a complete blank.
“Oh hi!” I said with as much enthusiasm as possible, hoping she didn’t notice that I didn’t actually say her name.
We continued to have an entire conversation about the storm, our power, and the emotional toll the past week and a half had taken on all of us.
We said good-bye and resumed pushing our respective shopping carts in opposite directions.
I figured her name would come to me eventually. But, it never did.
I was thinking I had a one-time momentary brain lapse. But, then it happened again yesterday! I was at the gym sitting down at one of the arm machines, plugged into my iPod. A woman walks over to me and taps me on my knee to get my attention and said “hello.” Again, no clue who that woman was.
So that’s two people in the past few months who apparently know me, but I don’t know them – at all. How scary is that? Either Mommy-Brain is back or I better start making flashcards with people’s faces on the front and names on the back. I’ll have my kids quiz me each day and if I get any wrong, they’ll take away my ice cream, which I look forward to every night for dessert. If I have that threat hanging over me, I’ll be sure to know everyone’s names in no time.
Do you have “mommy-brain” even though you shouldn’t?
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