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I’ve never forgotten my children anywhere, car, shop, park—you name it.
Nonetheless, when the first one was an infant she would often fall asleep in her carseat and the sudden, blessed quiet would allow me to momentarily (fractionally, mind you, we’re talking something like seconds here) forget about her.
I can recall any number of times, once this vehicle-motion-induced serenity had ensued, remarking to my wife that we should eat at such-and-such restaurant for dinner, or go shopping at so-and-so’s store, only to be gently reminded that the baby made that too problematic—in those moments, after I would sigh out a resigned, “Oh, yeah…” with the slightest click of my tongue as I self-admonished, I realized I had actually forgotten about the small and absolutely helpless being strapped in behind me.
On any occasion, and with absolutely no hyperbole, I can tell you I would have scooped out my own eyes with a rusty spoon rather than see any harm come to her. Even still I can’t deny the wretched and dissonant fact that while she was always on my mind, sometimes she wasn’t.
As to memory and anyone’s ability to multitask and organize, I can recall any number of times, after weeks of three-to-four hour’s sleep a night and a full time job on top, when I changed the baby’s diaper twice because I forgot I had just done it, or warmed two bottles of milk because the first one was inexplicably set down in the cabinet with the glasses, or placed in the freezer, or sat at the foot of her crib, only to be discovered hours later.
Rather than recriminate and decry the tragically unfortunate parents for whom a second’s memory lapse turned into an hour or a day, for whom the daily, incessant routine built a false room in that ephemeral memory palace we all roam, I weep for them and their loss.
There is literally nothing anyone can do to these parents to cause them greater agony or sorrow; their pain is already permanent and thorough.