The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

Trading Places


“Now I know what you felt like when you sent us to get something, and we came back claiming we couldn’t find it,” Jacob said Monday. It’s taken at least 15 years, but my son suddenly understands something about me. I used to think my kids did those things so I’d stop asking them for anything. Because more often than not I’d end up getting it myself while complaining “it was right where I said it was.” But I never learned. I kept asking, and they kept coming back without it.

The day before that conversation, Cary and I were filling out a joint application. She grabbed the clipboard from my hand and started filling out both her part and mine. I felt déjà vu. She was me, and I was my mother. This was something I always did for mom in the doctor’s office or on applications. But I think I asked in the beginning if she wanted me to help. And she was 20 years older then than I am now.

Later Cary claimed she had just done it because her handwriting was better. But I suddenly saw my toe descending into the empty hole in the ground. Actually I’m choosing cremation, so my toe’s just warming up.

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