“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.”
That Mark Twain quote makes me laugh – because it’s so true, isn’t it?
Now that I am older, I know better than to rely on my memory.
‘Teflon brain’ they call it.
That is one reason why I keep a journal: So special memories cannot slip away.
A few years ago, while my broken leg was healing, I perused 20 years of my messy journal-notebooks, laughing and crying and culling, then trashing.
Lots of trashing.
But some forgotten ‘treasures’ were salvaged, like this sweet story, from May, 2007.
“My dad talks all the time. Our family loves him and forgives him for his ‘Irish ways.’ But sometimes it is hard.
One day he interrupted a good conversation with my sister, and the next morning he took Mom away during my short time with her. I got very frustrated and hurt. The message: I don’t matter. No respect.
The next morning I asked him for an appointment to talk. He came home early and that afternoon we sat down on the couch in his office. I told him how it made me feel to be interrupted those two times. He apologized, he said he knows he interrupts people all the time, he said he knows he shouldn’t do it.
I asked him to tell me what he heard me say, how it made me feel, and he said, “Disrespected.” I told him what I needed next time, a time frame to finish what I am doing.
Then I told Dad what I appreciate about him and he shared with me his thoughts and feelings on losing his eyesight.
When he went off on a monologue (his normal style), I said, “Dad, could I say something?” And he’d let me.
And once he asked me, “May I make an observation?”
Then he told me he noticed when I was a teenager that I did not fit in the big downtown church, that I was uncomfortable around riches, and that is why he supported me being in a small youth group at a neighborhood church.
Wow. He noticed me?
It was a precious hour, that ended with a prayer and a hug.
My heart was flying. Dad’s not going to change, but he listened. I felt respected. And I know I matter to him.
I love remembering that story, especially this morning as I sit on that same white leather couch in his Dallas home office. Deep conversations with Dad are now impossible; his Teflon brain has been betraying him for many years. But last night there were stories and songs and dreams and laughing.
Lots of laughing.
Even though Dad does not remember my name, I know his.
I want him to feel loved and respected, and until that Glory Train comes and takes him to heaven, I hope to keep making memories with him.
He may forget them ten minutes later, but I won’t.
Because I will write them down in my journal.