Last night I was in bed not sleeping for various reasons and in my idle fidgeting I slapped a photo of my face-meltingly adorable son and puppy sleeping next to me up on social media. They truly are the cutest in all the land.
It did not take long before my phone made a little blip saying I had a message from one of my dear friends on the West Coast, undoubtedly seeing my post while going about normal evening activities because it is three hours earlier there. The time difference has often proven a welcome chasm between us during those long hours of insomnia.
For the better part of an hour my friend and I messaged back and forth, her asking about what’s new in my life and me divulging all the things. After a lull in our conversation she said that she was going to sign off and get some sleep. It came crushing down on me like a stack of cement bricks. I had not even asked her one thing about herself. How she was doing. What she was up to. If she was even ok. I was mortified and devastated. I felt so out of character, so disgustingly selfish, and then while I stammered my apologies I remembered why I had not asked. I had not asked because I forgot.
I did not forget because I was so anxious to blab about my hardly new life updates or because I was distracted multitasking. I forgot because my mind did not remember to remember. It is slipping.
Friends, when I do not call your children by their names that I’ve known for so long, it is because I am afraid I am going to say the wrong name. I was not so busy or distracted that I did not have the time to wish you a happy birthday or ask you how your cold was feeling or if you had gotten the call you were waiting for. You did not hear from me because I forgot. That laughter did sound forced as we reminisced over a funny memory; it really was nervous laughter because I was dashing through places in my mind trying to find that memory and I could not. And it’s terrifying.
Please know that my heart is still first and foremost for my God, my family, and my people. When I come across as rude or insensitive or dismissive, it is not for lack of not cherishing you as I always have— I simply cannot seem to string together all the pieces to remind myself of everything I am proud to be. Please remind me.
Tell me stories again and again for as long as it does not drive you insane, because when you take the time to remind me it allows me to relive that moment of joy with you once again for a short moment. The joy of learning your name. The joy of realizing all we have in common. The joy of knowing how deeply valued and seen and absolutely loved you are to me. Even if I cannot remember to say it, it is still there. Somewhere.
Blow up my phone. Grab me if you see me out and say hi. Remind me who you are and why I’m the luckiest to know you and then please keep being part of my tribe! Remind me of who I am and what I love and be relentless, because the forgotten space is a really lonely place to be.