The missionaries called us the other day to invite us to a baptism. Our stake president and his wife have recently adopted some children from Romania and two of them were being baptized Saturday. The missionaries thought it would be nice if we came because their English isn't very good yet and they might enjoy talking to us.
We were totally game to go, and on the way there we practiced speaking to each other in Romanian. I was absolutely horrified at myself. I couldn't remember basic vocabulary and my grammar was a mess. I had to think so hard just to structure a basic sentence and even then it rarely came out perfectly. Romanian used to come so easily to me and now it was like I was just learning it again.
This got me to wondering what has happened to my brain. I used to consider myself a fairly intelligent person, but now? I don't know.
I love crosswords, and when I was in college I could complete the New York Times Crossword puzzle without any help. Even on Fridays I could do this. I recently picked up a copy of the Tuesday puzzle and I could only get halfway through it. (The easiest puzzles are published Monday and they get progressively harder each day.) I think I tried a Friday puzzle a couple of months ago and I could only get three or four answers. Goodness! What happened?
I'm singing in this concert with Joel tomorrow night. I have never had such a hard time learning music before. Part of it I chalk up to time...I just don't have as much time to dedicate to practicing as I did when I didn't have children. The other part is just that my brain seems slow and sluggish when I am trying to learn the music. And we won't even talk about the French.
Joel and I love to play Trivial pursuit, and although I am still pretty good at it, I am surprised at the number of "easy" questions I tend to miss. Especially in the geography and history type categories. It's like I forgot everything I ever learned in all of the 18 or so years I attended school!
I have come to the conclusion that I actually haven't become stupider over the years. My brain cells did not go out with the placenta, as a friend of mine says. No, those brain cells are just being used for different things. I may not be able to complete a crossword puzzle anymore, but I have an amazing ability to know where every single item is in the house at any given time. If Joel or one of the girls is missing something, you can bet I know exactly where it is....even if it is in the furthest corner under Bria's bed. Speaking Romanian and learning French might be a challenge right now, but I am probably the only one who knows what Chloe is saying 99% of the time. (If she is saying a new word, sometimes it takes me a minute to catch on what she means.) History and Geography are useless to me now, so I can't remember them. Instead, that brain power is going to other things that I can use. Things like knowing when the kids should see the doctor, being able to answer all of the insatiable questions Bria asks, and keeping the finances in my home running smoothly.
So it doesn't mean that my brain is so full that half of my knowledge has fallen out my left ear. It's just proof that the human brain is remarkably adaptable. I am sure that if I ever decide to go back to school I'll be able to tap into my music-memorizing, crossword-completing, language-learning abilities once again. For now, I am happy to know that my brain is working in "mother mode" and is helping me be successful at the most important job I'll ever have!