I don’t know how many years I’ve been meeting my parents for meals and arrived with some activity ready to fill the time. I’d bring questions, pictures, cartoons, jokes and share them to give us a common topic to discuss.
I remember at first how much I struggled to spend time with my parents. Most days it’s idle chitchat you’d exchange with a stranger. Every so often, something comes out that makes you feel like you are sitting there with your parents before the memory issues began.
Over the course of several years, I turned my frustration into activities. Last year, I turned the activities into products I now sell. When I realized how little I really knew about my parents growing up and their scrapbooks full of pictures did little to enlighten me, I wrote and published the MemoryBanc Monograph. It helps collect the stories behind all the pictures. I have set my sites on making sure that every day is valuable – not just the ones before short-term memory loss and dementia strike.
However, the road is long and recently I have been bringing my heart to the meal table instead of my head. I’ve been getting hurt and leave depressed when we visit.
After an unusually prickly two weeks, my daughter brings me a series of questions she was going to ask my parents this weekend when we meet for lunch. A tear leaked from my eye . She wants to interview them as a 9-year-old – “What’s your favorite color?”; “Did you learn to ride a bike? If so, how old were you when you learned?”
The next time I see them, it won’t be my role alone to hold up the “conversation.” Overjoyed.