I stood at the sink tonight, doing dishes as I often do, and found myself thinking fondly of the times when I — as a boy too short to see over the counter without the help of a step stool — would stand beside my grandmother and help her with the dishes. She invited the help; welcomed the help and we spent many an amiable time cleaning up after a meal and talking. I cannot remember now what the conversations were about. I am not even sure that it matters.
What matters is the memories. The memories flooded into my mind as I thought about standing beside her doing dishes. I also remembered her taking me to buy my first fantasy novel (I had learned about it on Saturday morning cartoons, of all places) and my first book on astronomy (she asked me multiple times whether I was sure that I wanted that book). I remember her looking for used pads at work that she could bring home and have available for me to use to draw. Twenty years later, I still have one or two of them around with sketches done while visiting her house.
I wash dishes like the Star Wars mug and remember when I opened that gift at my graduation dinner — a gift given me by the man who would, one day, be my Best Man and for whom I often find myself praying, though I know far less how to do so these days. Time has drawn us apart, but the mug brings back memories of when we had time to spare to paint bedrooms orange.
My wife, good woman that she is, wants to bring a dish washing machine into our apartment. I cannot fault her reasons. She wants me to have more time to spend with her and our children. More time to pursue things like this blog entry and the novels and music and art I often neglect. She wants to make space for me to be … me. A husband and father and artist and musician and novelist (God willing) and the plethora of others hats I sometimes wear. She wants to make space for all of that. But I wonder if in gaining the time to explore those things, I will lose the time I spend remembering.
I am not angsting, though this post might seem to indicate otherwise, merely reflecting on the things that trigger welcome memories. The memories, tonight, reminded me that I need to appreciate those I have in my life while I have them. Grams, my grandmother, has done admirably well at that. My friend and I crammed lots of memories and fun into a handful of years. Perhaps it is time to get that dishwasher and make time for making more memories. The dishes will still be there.