Dearest Rachel –
People sometimes tell me I have an impressive memory. And I suppose, for the things I learned in childhood, that’s not far from the mark. I would memorize Bible verses and the like for Awana, and many of them have stayed with me just like some of them actually advertise: “Train up a child in the way should go…” and all that.
But when it comes to more recent things, things that happen to and around me, things that I observe, it doesn’t always work out as well. Indeed, it’s why I keep having to write these letters almost immediately after something happens, lest I forget completely about it. It never ceases to amaze me as my parents told me stories about me when I was a child – or even in high school – and I’m completely blank about the event. And I’m terrified by the fact that over time, I am going to forget everything about you, about us.
And that’s what happened with this story: I forgot what something was, and then forgot what I had done with that thing, and wound up having to answer for it without having the answer.
So here’s what happened: last night, after Chompers finally settled down, and I had gone to bed and put out the lights, Daniel came by, asking after a bag with green fabric in it. He had apparently left it up on the upstairs landing, where Jan and I had been working in the morning (although we were mostly in the office, there were other messes that she was trying to deal with elsewhere as well). You might remember that he had plans for making it into a cape and a hat for a Ralsei costume.
Anyway, at approximately two in the morning, he was wondering where it was.
I really had no clue what he was talking about. For my part, I was hoping he had simply moved it into what we’ve always referred to as the ‘yellow room’, which neither Jan nor I had been able to get into, let alone mess with. As it turned out, he had actually moved this bag from the yellow room into the hall right by the linen closet, thinking that would be more ‘out of the way.’
Incidentally, at some other point yesterday morning, I had mentioned to Jan that throwing things out from a room that was more Daniel’s than ours was a dangerous proposition. At some point in the near future, I feared he would suddenly ask me where some random thing was, and I wouldn’t be prepared to answer him. I didn’t really expect it to be that very night, but I did manage to prove my point.
She has, all this time, made it clear to me that if I didn’t remember her system, and wanted to know where something was or had been put away, that I could just text her, and she would fill me in. With that in mind, I instructed Daniel to send her a text to that effect. Of course, I warned him that she wouldn’t respond until morning, but at least the message would be out there.
I also pointed out to him that, going forward, he really needed to be more involved in the cleaning process, as we were moving into what might as well be considered his territory, and he needed to explain the things he was keeping – and why. Otherwise, neither Jan nor I would know why this seeming junk was still being kept, and proceed to throw it out without his knowledge or consent. And that would be something that he would eventually find unacceptable.
I get that his condition makes him particularly resistant to change. And I know that to Jan, it seems as though he’s particularly digging in his heels. But I also know that he’s lived with all the stuff around him for all his life, and so many changes have happened in these last five months. It’s a lot to deal with, even for someone who might be considered reasonably well-adjusted – which, to be honest, neither of us are.
Hopefully, this will spur him to take a more active role in what we’re doing. That may be in literally the only silver lining to this situation.
And here’s where we come to the part where this is all my fault. Jan responded to my text this morning (as she has promised to), and reminded me that she’d asked me about such a bag of fabric, and I hadn’t recognized it at the time. Figuring that it was something that you had brought home from your folks, I agreed we didn’t need it, and that it could be donated. I had remembered nothing about any preparations for a Ralsei costume.
And of course, by the time Daniel was asking after it, I remembered nothing about authorizing at the bag of fabric be discarded, or rather, donated.
So, twice in under twenty-four hours, my memory completely failed me, and consequently failed Daniel. Now, at the time he was asking, he did acknowledge that it was just a bit of fabric, it wasn’t an actual costume. Presumably, if worse came to worst, we could go back to Jo Ann’s, and buy some more fabric to do the job – although, to be honest, it begs the question as to who would construct his costume. Neither of us has any particular sewing skill, and now that I think about it, I believe we already donated the sewing machine, with the conclusion that we would never use it. So there’s that.
But this is the sort of thing that I worry about happening, and as we keep going deeper into what he claims as his, I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse. I just hope he can up his participation game, so we can finish making this house presentable for the future.
As always, honey, wish us luck.