I imagine we've all fallen back on those old tropes when seeing a newborn.... "she looks just like her mum.... he has your family's nose.... oh my goodness doesn't he look like his great uncle Bert's second nephew on your mother's side," when in truth the swaddled, snuggled creature you are beholding more closely resembles the solitary, wrinkly grape that always seems to be cowering in the bottom of any fruit bowl in its attempt to evade the hordes of ravening vampire satsumas lusting after its juice.
Years later when the grape has grown into an equally unappealing adolescent sultana we regurgitate yet more aphorisms and declaim "that lass of yours she's a chip off the old block.... like father like son," especially when addressing unwelcome behaviour, as if all undesirable traits must be the fault of at least one parent rather than the inevitable outcome of being human.
Of course these sayings are passed down the generations because they hold a germ of truth. we are a genetic mish-mash of our antecedents, their strengths, their weaknesses, their ailments, all swilling around the building blocks of our DNA ready to make a break for freedom and alter the course of our lives in a heartbeat. many of the illnesses and disabilities that afflict mankind can be traced back along this long line of glitchy genes to our forefathers and foremothers.
When youth was on my side, friends would gather to contemplate the vagaries of life. during late night/early morning rambling debates we would question which of our many abilities it would be the most devastating to lose. sight seemed to top the list and knowing glaucoma has trickled down the branches of my family tree i always assumed loss of vision would be one of the first fatalities age would throw my way. how wrong can a girl be? the eyes are fine but the brain has decided to steal my words.
For many years i have made a joke of my lost mobility by laughingly exclaiming "the only parts of me that work are my mouth and my brain", lately though they too have openly rebelled and instigated industrial action, pending all out strike. what's most infuriating is that the words are intact INSIDE my mind, they come to fruition through my fingertips on a keyboard without difficulty, but when they are ready to be spoken, at the in-drawing of breath.... they get stuck !!! the ability to maintain a reasoned argument has stuttered to a stop, the witty retort to criticism has turned into wordless gaping worthy of a goldfish, quick off the mark speech has stalled in a traffic-jam sequence of red lights. everyday chatting is fine but when a cogent line of thought comes into play communication leaves for the playground.
My parents and grandparents stayed fluent in grand old age so i can't lay the blame at their feet. it could be the absence of young people in my universe since moving to supported housing. it could simply be a tired brain. whatever the cause may i apologise in advance if in the midst of discussion a vacant stare overcomes me. it's not the fairies come to take me away or terminal boredom with your company, it's more likely that synapses are firing in overdrive, snapping at the heels of stray vowels and consonants, herding them back into line before i completely lose track of .... ummm what was i saying ???