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  • Writer's pictureJeni Kelsch


Updated: Jun 18, 2018

I recently met a woman who is writing a novel about a local woman’s survival and triumph during the Civil War. The book has been carefully researched, fully vetted, and is a historically accurate portrayal. I think that’s amazing, I could never write a book like that. For starters, I would have to remember what I was talking about for longer than a paragraph.

My children often swear I have given them permission to do or eat something I have absolutely no memory of. I don’t think these things they claim I said sound like things I would say, ever.

“Mom, Where’s the ladder?” My seven year old recently requested. I was busy writing my novel, so I replied somewhat distractedly, “Hanging in the garage where it always is.” She was almost to the bottom of the stairs before I felt the mother warning alarm go off in my head, “Wait a minute, Why?” “You said we could use it to practice diving in the kiddy pool cause the edge is too flimsy to stand on.” I pause for reflection and reflect that I clearly do not remember pausing to say that. “When did I say this?” I inquire.

“While you were in the bathroom, remember, Grace asked you through the door.”

Ah yes, I do remember hearing a noise at the door, and as I was busy with other things, I had answered the knock with a rather annoyed, “Yes?” My gifted 13 year old had apparently then translated the Momeese from a question to a statement for the behalf of her younger siblings.

“I am pretty sure I never said you could dive into 2 feet of water off a …what’s on your face?” I said, realizing I had better get a little more hands on and actually look at the child doing the talking. “Ice cream.”

“When did I say you could have ice cream?”

“You said Grandma said it was amazing that we were all still alive the way we eat and you might as well serve us ice cream for breakfast.” My youngest patiently explained.

I had to admit, that one sounded plausible, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what was meant. As I pondered the sticky child standing before me in a swimsuit two sizes too small, my eldest daughter sauntered by. I suspected she had manipulated the short one into the new breakfast of champions and was involved with the latest ladder caper. “Did you tell your sister to get the ladder?” I demanded. The thirteen year old groggily tilted her head and lifted her eyelids enough to make out the general region from which I was speaking and sveltely replied, “What?” I repeated the question, but the level of understanding did not seem to be improving. Finally, she answered with a vague wave in the direction of my voice, “Oh yeah, you said to play with the little girls and make sure they have fun.” I sighed, I suspect the problem isn’t so much that I don’t remember what I say as that my children and I do not speak the same language.

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