I have synesthesia.
Or HAD, for the most part. This type of condition can fade with time as we leave childhood behind and grow into ourselves cognitively. I can only attribute certain situations to it now.
I diagnosed myself with it years ago after seeing an episode of 20/20 documenting people with the same experiences and realized that the colors I used to "see" when listening to music or really any kind of sound as a child wasn't just in my head. Brassy songs still have a visual effect with me and piercing whistles (John is guilty of this) will make me see white. (People will wonder why I wince so violently when John emits that blinding sound. This is why.)
I am still this way with letters, numbers and even colors. Anyone looking to go against me in a baby shower word jumble better resign themselves to the fact that the $5.00 gift card to Target is MINE. (I've been accused of cheating repeatedly throughout my years in school when even the teachers thought there was no possible way I could have found all the hidden words that quickly.)
But that's not my confession.
My confession is, while I'm great with sounds, colors, numbers and letters, I am terrible with faces.
I have a fear. Every day when I enter Sprite's daycare at pick up time and look among the masses of children all peering up at me, hoping that my face is the one they want to see, my fear gnaws at me.
Will I recognize my own child? Or will I be found out?
Back when Sprite was a wee lass, I was complimented all the time on how I had such a Gerber baby. (Being that my Baba's maiden name was Gerber, people didn't know how close to the truth they were.) And Sprite personified that look with a cute button nose, fair features, nothing too big or small, and dark fuzz gracing the top of her (big) head. Looking back, she was a beautiful baby. (It's totally true.)
Of course, I was quickly tuned into her cries, knowing her from scads of other babies just by the tone and speed. But if you were to put her among a sea of twenty, my heart would quicken in response as if taking too long to spot her would cost me the role of "mother".
Sprite was about five months old when I walked into the Newborn Room at her daycare. Pausing near the doorway, I looked over to her crib which was stationed toward the back of the room. She wasn't in it, her green crocheted blanket drizzled across the mattress as the only evidence that she had been sleeping there recently. Deducing she would therefore be in the main play area, my eyes roved over the floor, pausing at the two jumperoos being occupied, the exercausers, and even the teachers who were sitting with other babies on the floor, involved in simple games.
I didn't see Sprite. A few of the teachers were standing at the kitchenette area, watching me expectantly. I smiled at them, and quickly resumed my search, checking the area again. Again, I didn't see her.
I turned back to the teachers and asked, "Where is Sprite?"
One of the teachers stopped smiling and gave me a hard look. "Really?"
My eyebrows raised in question.
"She's right in front of you."
I looked down at the jumperoo a few feet away and focused on the child within it. It was Sprite. I had looked at her. Twice. And twice I had not recognized her.
The teachers had a good laugh at my expense and I even chuckled as my cheeks burned in shame at being found out.
Now, it's difficult for me to NOT spot her since her hair, face, and even the way she moves is uniquely her. Her classmates also help out by announcing my arrival whenever the opening door reveals my identity.
But my safety net? I can tell you what she's wearing down to the color of her socks. Every morning, I take an internal inventory of how she looks and use it as my homing device to center on my pink/ green/ blue/ whatever color wearing target as she sits among almost a hundred other children.
Heaven help me if she spills something on herself and they need to change her outfit.
All is forgiven! But do me a favor and offer your forgiveness as well to the great Spinners!
Next week's Spin Assignment: Sports!
The Olympics are almost over, has anyone else been devoting their evenings to it like me? Sorry, John, and I've got sports on the brain!
I pass a crack in the sidewalk and it immediately becomes a long jump. My shoes slide on the linoleum in the office kitchen and I wonder if I should do it again, only this time add a triple lutz jump. Climbing the stairs becomes a timed event, I MUST BEAT MY BEST TIME!
And baseball starts soon. There's that too. Are your kids in sports? Dance? Were you? Are you STILL? Are they good? Bad? Too many? Not enough?
Is skiing your sport? How about running? Are you just competitive in everything you do therefore your entire LIFE is a sport? (You must own stock in Gatorade.)
Spin it out, speed it over, and set a record!
See you next week on the Spin Cycle!