I forgot. My kids have adopted it as their slogan. I ask the 11 year-old, "Why didn't you hang up your wet towel?"
He answers, "I forgot."
I scold my youngest boy, "Don't jump out and scare your sister."
"I forgot," he defends himself.
I say to my 13-year-old, "Weren't you going to your French teacher after school today for extra help?"
"Uh, I forgot."
My daughter responds to my irritation over finding the cat asleep on the sofa, after I told her to put the cat out, with a plaintive, "Mama, I forgot."
Then their father comes storming in from work, having navigated a maze of child-sized transportation - skates, bikes, scooters and skate boards - blockading the front door. "Put that stuff in the garage when you're finished using it!" he booms. Borrowing a line from my repertoire, he rhetorically questions, "How many times have I told you?"
"We forgot," someone answers, and, because not one small body moves to right the wrong, it is unclear whether the child means they forgot to put their toys away or if he means they can't recollect how many times their daddy has told them to put their toys away.
I've heard the claim that hormones in the chicken we eat expedite physical maturity in children. Perhaps it's true; my offspring bypassed adolescence and sped through adulthood to their golden years of senility and dementia. Though they might not be forgetting to put their teeth in, they require constant reminders to brush them.
They can't remember to toss their dirty clothes in the hamper, get their planners signed or flush the toilet. They forget to give me teachers' notes, chew with their mouths closed and put the milk back in the refrigerator.
I render regular repetitions of, "Hold your fork correctly, put your napkin in your lap, shut the door, turn down the TV, close the curtain when you take a shower, say 'yes ma'am,' don't call your brother 'nimrod' and wash your hair," but it does no good. They still forget.
I've seriously considered giving them a taste of their own medicine. When one asks if he has any clean jeans, I could reply, "I forgot to do your laundry." When they nag me for snacks, I would explain,"I forgot to buy snacks at the store." When a hungry child wants to know what's for dinner, I would say, "It's burned! I forgot to take it out of the oven. I guess I'm serving these stale crackers I forgot to seal shut."
And my forgetting wouldn't stop there. I would forget to take them to baseball practice and birthday parties. I would forget to pick them up from school and to drop them off at friends' houses. I would forget their names and their birthdays and the stories they beg me to tell them about when they were little. I would forget how much they love pork chops and peas and feed them beef liver and beets.
Maybe then they would understand the repercussions of "I forgot."
But on second thought, it won't be too long before I reach my own golden years of senility and dementia and actually don't remember their names and birthdays and those sweet stories they love me to recite, and I don't want them to feed me pured beef livers and beets just to teach me a lesson about forgetting to put my teeth in.
(Lucy Adams is a Columbia County native and McDuffie County resident. E-mail comments to lucybgoosey at aol.com.)
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