On the day our family and several dear friends visited a retirement home as part of a citywide volunteer effort, I kept wishing I had one of my pocket-sized writing notebooks that I typically carry. I repeatedly found myself saying, “I hope I remember that look,” and “I hope I remember those words.”
But I didn’t forget.
In fact, every little exchange I witnessed that day seems to be permanently engrained in my mind. And because I can remember the day’s events so vividly, I feel these things are meant to be shared. As small, unlined hands grasped hands adorned with protruding veins and age spots, here are a few thing I won’t forget:
I won’t forget that on the way to the retirement center my older daughter told her younger sister that she Googled what to say to old people. From the backseat I heard, “A safe question is: ‘What is your favorite childhood memory?’ But don’t ask, ‘How old are you?’”
I won’t forget how my daughters stared out the car window clutching their bags of handmade cards. Their hopeful faces indicated they were anxious to distribute messages of love. “Breathe in blue sky, breathe out gray sky,” said one card in beautiful kid penmanship.
I won’t forget how neither an ominous security system nor a strong medicinal odor deterred the children from eagerly walking through the double doors to meet those anxiously waiting on the other side.