Today is the birthday of my ex-brother-in-law who passed away last fall. I was a little girl when he married my sister and so many of my memories of him are from a child's perspective. His charming smile, his easy laugh, the way he was quick with a joke and loved to help show me things like fishing by using a beer can are just pieces of what I remember about him. When problems began in his marriage, I was a teen and barely understood the concept of divorce except that it split families up. I remember the good and bad and yet, the good always seems to push aside those 'other' things.
In my mind it is difficult to put an "ex" in front of a relative. Simply because they're no longer in the family doesn't mean I have to kick their memories out of my heart and mind. The strength with which those memories remain throughout the years and can easily resurface when needed amazes me. I can still see him securing the line onto a can top and then tossing it into the lake. He caught more fish that day than I did with my fancy rod and reel. There are also memories of boat rides, trips to Puerto Rico, family celebrations and plenty of summer weekends spent barbecuing at Blue Mountain. Today, I raise a can of Miller and wish Bibi a Happy Birthday. I know he is somewhere above entertaining the angels with stories and keeping everyone relaxed and entertained.
So my post today is not only about remembering a loved one but also about the power of a child's memory--how we can be touched by someone and keep those images and feelings locked away and alive. As adults when we are quick to judge our kids or say something we can not take back, we should remember the longevity with which children keep their memories: good and bad.