selective memory at nautilus teachings


this morning
as i sat with my son
who was filling me in
on their weekend madness
of making over
the home they purchased
a year ago
and spending
every spare moment
updating, upgrading
and creating
the most beautiful
artistic home ever,
my mind wandered
to the homes,
i myself
had torn walls down in
kitchens, bathrooms
added fences
and play yards to,
not to mention
lay sod,
hang lights
mix cement for sidewalks
repair holes in walls….

funny thing is
adult children
laugh at you
and think
did what they are doing
the house
you live in now
is probably the newest home
or at least
is looking at its best…

d and i redid this home
he already owned
top to bottom.
we have spent 11 years
adding on
but the first 2 years
were the ones
that stole every
waking moment from us-
times we actually loved
because we work
extremely well together…

adult children cannot see this.
they don’t think you were ever
in debt
robbing peter to pay paul
taking out loans
eating ramen noodles
mac n cheese
and hotdogs
even if they
in fact
lived through
it all
as your children…

do they have selective
i don’t think so,
what i believe
is every person
what made them happy
what wounded them
or a little bit of both…
i tried hard to shelter
my kids from
the ugly truth
of my life.
i kept them active
in sports
taught them how
to cook , clean, give,
do chores
and of course
how to relax
have fun
and laugh
with faith…

so as i sat there
listening to him giggle
at what he believes is my truth,
that mom never had to do
what he and his beautiful wife
are doing because
mom always had a nice house
always had plenty of money
has no idea what it’s like
working 10 hour days
then being a house slave on the weekends…
i actually find this as a compliment
this means
he either never saw
the cardboard boxes covered
with table cloth end tables
has blacked out the blow up furniture
forgot that he shared a bedroom
with his baby sister until she was 3
and he was 8
that he helped to build the fence
and play yard
by hauling wood,
how he got to take a huge hammer
to help tear down walls,
helped mop up
the bathroom flooding
from us trying to fix
plumbing with
instructions from
a library book….
or, he only remembers
the time after

the big house in the OBX
us buying a huge sailboat
going on fabulous vacations
driving nice cars
and of course
his getting lost
in his own growing up
being free
and eventually
having his own
giants to face
and fight before
finally landing him
in a good life
in the beautiful arms
of a woman he loves
with a son who is
a very good baby…
they both work hard
they work every weekend
on their home
it’s exhausting
but it’s good for the soul…

i never wanted my kids
to be privileged
even for the short time
we had some money
they still did chores
went to church
said please and thank you
saved for their first cars
held a job in high school
and were held accountable
for every choice they made,
good or bad…

every time i get to sit
with any of our
adult children
and hear them
talk about finances
my inside is smiling,
giggling actually,
for i know
it wont be until
their own children
having similar
with them,
years from now
that maybe
their memory will clear
and remember
growing up
not having computers,
video games,
only buying clothes
that was on sale
making all our gifts
working together
as a family to do everything
eating leftovers
was just part of life
and we rented movies
instead of going to the theater…

the good old days
before devices
and everyone
trying to one up
their neighbors…
gone are
retirement funds
paid vacations
spending a lifetime
with one company
and receiving a pension,
we have no idea if
social security will even
be around for our
grown children
let alone our grandchildren…

this year,
for a brief afternoon
all 5 of our kids will be here
to celebrate Christmas
family and food…
they are not allowed
to bring any presents
as all us old folks really want
is to see their faces
hug them close
listen to their stories
meet the new loves
in some of their lives
watch cousins meet
for the first time
and take lots of photos
with a real camera!!!
i have a whole stack of board games
(in case anyone gets bored)
devices have to remain on mute
and put away
and for a few brief hours
d and i get to pass out stockings
watching them roll their eyes
and giggle as they see
what we have purchase for them
until the real gift arrives,
Christmas checks!
no doubt d will lead us all
in Christmas carols
we will all have a few drinks
and them
just like that
everyone goes home…

so, go ahead, kids,
choose which memories
you wish to remember
but never forget…
now that you are an adult parent
your kids are already doing the same…
i say,
give them something to remember
take photograph’s
print them
hang them on the wall
and every year
tell stories
about last years

maybe one day
you too
will open up
your memory books
and notice
your life was beautiful
and then out of the corner
of your eye
you will see the blow up couch
the cardboard boxed tables
and you will look up to heaven
and say,
‘i love and miss you mom,
merry Christmas!”