The January lives of my father and me

Saturday, while sorting and boxing things in my mother’s apartment (because she’s moving into a personal care home), I came across a bag of my late father’s appointment calendars. They’re of the pocket-size type, allowing just a square or a few lines of writing per day.

Neither one of my parents are/were diarists. My father, however, was introverted, meticulous, a good writer, and he might have been, I think, in other times. But he was very busy. I suspect, in addition, he would have felt it unseemly, as a Christian, to linger over his, or others’, doings, failures, triumphs. Introspection could be a trap in the world we’re “passing through.” But the inclination was there, even if he didn’t indulge it, and here it was, peeking out of his tiny notes in these calendars.

I couldn’t stop to read; I was sorting and boxing. But I had this moment of connection with him: In this, we’re a lot alike! Unlike him, I’ve indulged, and have many more words in notebooks by now than he ever did, but really, that’s just numbers.

Then I noticed that it was mostly the first month or two that Dad had crammed with notes, while the rest of the year was sparsely filled or blank. I smiled; I recognized this pattern too. I journal year round, but how faithfully and fully I write as the new year opens, and how many days pass unrecorded by year’s end! If I would ever write a memoir based on my journals (I’m speaking hypothetically) I’d have to call it My Life as I Lived It in January (and Part of February). That’s where all the detail is.

In the middle of the somewhat melancholy task of reducing my mother’s physical world, this connection with my dad, as trivial as it may sound, was a gift. Me too! and Oh, yes, I understand! are always a gift, but especially when they cross the generations.

6 thoughts on “The January lives of my father and me

  1. What a lovely post, Dora ~ a treasure indeed to come across these connections to your dad. God be with you to comfort and reassure you during this transition time with your mom.

  2. I’m glad you found me, Dora, and that I, in turn, found you. This post reminds me of my own dad. He was always a deep thinker, and in the years before he died, he started writing more, and actually had some pieces published in the EMC Messenger and in the local paper. It was a lovely connection to know that he understood what drives a writer.

  3. Me three–on writing more faithfully in January and February. Just like what they say about gym memberships. I also noted, as I gave awayhundreds of books, that many of the underlinings ended in the middle of the book! Thanks forthe smile.

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