It’s funny how the mind can wander so many places in the space of about ten minutes. When I started blogging I had specific ideas about what I wanted to say. I wanted it to be a helpful place where people could identify with the experiences of life in the sandwich. I wanted it to be a resource for things I’ve found useful during the last few years. And I think it’s beginning to shape up that way. But today the mind is just wandering, unfocused, but pleased with its travels.
Visibility ¼ mile, temperature 23 F, highway traffic 30 MPH, McD’s patrons – 26, mostly coffee, some sodas, keeping warm, having conversations, watching close captioned news, wondering if Cyprus will confiscate 10% of its citizens’ bank accounts, seniors, couples, a mom with a child, oldies on the radio, contemplating errands, remembering yesterday’s business meeting, business task list, home task list, satisfaction with three laundry loads finished, more snow showers and howling wind, praying she made it to work safely, alpacas at the zoo, gas at $3.959, “Do the Locomotion”, Avila Beach, “California Dreamin’”, hiking in Boulder Mountain Park, Kenosha Pass, 4wd trips, granddaughter’s funny expressions, grandson’s cooing, biking, kayaking in South Carolina, financial peace, hot water (not enough).
Mental vacations are useful things: refreshing, invigorating, thought provoking and relaxing. Daydreaming can lead to inspiration, new subjects for writing, new plans, new tasks, and sometimes getting back on task. Today it’s leading to mostly pleasant memories.
I remember the last few years listening a little more carefully to my father-in-law as he told his Army Air Corps stories, and his childhood adventures. I listened to my mother-in-law as she told about being a 20 year old military wife traveling on her own to be with her husband at different bases in the US, and waiting patiently for him to return from the war. I remember Dad’s own passion for the game of golf, and that the last two rounds he ever played were with me.
I remember repeating his stories to help him remember as his own memory was failing him. I remember his amazement that I knew a lot of his life story, and his questions, “Did we know each other back then?” Or, “How do you know that?” “Because you told me Dad.” “Remember driving the delivery truck when you were fourteen? You told me that story!” “Remember, I’m your son-in-law Dad?” “Really?” “Yup, married your daughter.” “My daughter? Ah, Debbie!” “Right Dad!” “Wilma, that’s the Big Guy, he’s my friend!”
Sometimes the memories are painful; more often they’re pleasant and happy. Learn the life stories well, and tell them back to your parents often as they begin to forget; that is a big part of the “best friends approach to care giving”. I know that retelling those stories helped keep my father-in-law in touch with reality for a little while longer. And just being the Big Guy, well that’s good enough for me. These days remembering that never fails to bring warmth to my heart and a tear to my eye – even here, on a cold and snowy Tuesday morning in March.
Fond memories Dad; I miss you …