For the past couple of years, I have noticed my memory isn't as great as it used to be. Yes, participants in my workshops still say, "I can't believe you remember my name!", but I double-book appointments sometimes, and I can't remember where I put my phone while I am talking on it. Everyone says it has to do with aging (and it may also have something to do with medications I have to take after my bout with breast cancer almost five years ago), but that doesn't mean I have to like it. I just have to accept it. Dave probably wishes I wouldn't remember grammar rules when I giggle (politely, I might add) when he makes a minor faux pas.
I've just started watching a new Netflix series about a woman in an accident who awakens in the hospital with amnesia. She can't remember that her husband is the man sitting next to her bedside, despite the fact they both are wearing their wedding rings. I am baffled and saddened by that. How can something so amazing as a great marriage with so many memories be lost by a head bump? I cannot imagine it---from either side---the one with amnesia or the one who is desperately trying to get the loved one to remember who they loved!
Memories have always been such a huge part of my life. After my parents divorced, despite the tough times, I have such amazing memories of music in our house when we were growing up, sitting through days and weeks of watching my dad (who was the orchestra leader) and my mom (who was the piano player) rehearse for the performances of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" in New Braunfels, Texas. When Dave and I went to see the show in Tucson a couple of months ago, the memories came flooding back. I was suddenly 9 years old again! My parents' marriage was already on the downhill slope and lots of tough times were just around the corner, but wowee...if you play a stanza from "I don't know how to love him", I revert back to sitting in that New Braunfels Play House, watching the rehearsals and memorizing every line of every song in that show.
This past week, Dave and I had the blessing to spend a bit of time in San Antonio with my dad. He is 88 years old and in incredibly failing health, so I always tell him how much I love him, despite some memories that are not so great from our relationship when I was a kid. Those things simply don't matter anymore. The memories I want to keep with me are of him teaching me how to fish (those of you who know me well, keep in mind I didn't have as much OCD about touching yucky things back then), reading "A Christmas Story" with us on reel to reel tape each Christmas, going to eat pancakes with him on select Sunday mornings when my mom was "sleeping in", and the list goes on. I cherish those memories with my daddy, and if he passes away tonight or in the next week or month, I have not one regret in the world....only love for him.
Today is a special day for memories in another way, as well.
Today is the day on which my dear friend, Jil , along with her brother Randy and, will lay their daddy to rest in Niceville, Florida. If you aren't familiar with Randall Wise, he was the epitome of a Godly man and happened to be the mayor and heartbeat of Niceville for 50+ years. But what I saw in Mayor Wise was something seemingly so small but worth every cent I ever made as a principal. He took time to talk to and be with people. On Tigress Tuesday and Macho Monday, which Jil had started for Edge's families and friends to show their support by having lunch with their kiddos, Mayor Wise was there to pour tea every.single.time. His smile could light up the room. But when his daughter walked in with her class for the last lunchtime of the day, you could see joy spread through both of them. They'd hug, and once all her kids were seated, Jil would sit with her class. Mayor Wise would grab a lunch from the dear lunch ladies and a tea (you have to have tea in the south, you know), and he would sit down with Jil and her students and talk a little bit but mostly just listen. Watching Jil with her daddy is something I will never forget. As Jil and Randy lay their daddy to rest today, I will be remembering all the beautiful memories Jil has shared with me of her beloved dad who just happened to be the most amazing Mayor around.
Memories can be scary, I know. I have a few of those. I also have sad memories. I make a choice, on a daily basis, to thank God for the beautiful memories I'm blessed to remember about family and friends and my beloved work with educators in so many parts of the world. If I run into you and can't remember your name, though, please just give me a break and tell me what it is. I don't care about you any less.....I'm just getting older and making more memories.
Jil, this one's dedicated to you --- take a listen to Lady Antebellum tell our story.