I might not be able to remember what someone said to me five minutes ago, but that doesn't mean the memories aren't there. Sometimes they come like a flood. At other times, they trickle in a little bit at a time, like skipping through a DVD scene by scene. But the memories are there: some good, some bad, and some in between. And my favorite ones have to do with family.
Some center around the family of my youth: gathered for reunions or dinners or birthdays or holidays; helping dad with long-deferred chores on the homestead during Thanksgiving break; celebrating milestones or coming together to mourn the passing of a loved one.
Other memories are focused more on the family that began some 32 years ago when Laura and I said our vows. These include the births of our four children (all of which are grown-ups now); several moves across the country and finally ending up in Saline County to raise the kids; churches we have served; friends we have known; and the many beautiful places we have seen.
There are memories of kids that weren't our own that needed substitute parents for a while and came to live with us, frightened and nervous and needing to be loved.
My memories include school days and graduations (and not just for the kids). I remember prom dresses and tuxedoes; football games and concerts; broken hearts; and laughter that outshone all of the pain and tears.
Memories of animals that were friends and confidants more than merely pets; memories of mile-after-mile spent in the close confines of VW micro-busses and big green conversion vans; and memories of sleeping in a tent with the whole family while trying to get our feet back under us after moving to the Pacific Northwest.
Memories of songs and music and good times singing with the family in small living rooms and kitchens and at campsites and churches and around the fire pit in the backyard.
I remember hugs and kisses from the kids; holding them closely, when they were younger, until they went to sleep in my arms; drying their tears and loving their voices and making them laugh so I could hear them giggle or see them smile.
And there are memories of feeling that sense of "everything's OK" through it all whenever Laura touched me gently on the arm and smiled softly.
Yep ... I might not recall what you said to me five minutes ago.
But I remember.