January’s Thing: Interviewing my parents
My parents have gotten some good air time on this blog over the years, mostly because they are hilarious. There was the time the cops came over for Christmas, the time my mom almost ran me over with her car, and the time my mom schooled all of us on how to properly insulate coffee, just to name a few. And because I haven’t shared a good parental anecdote here in awhile, I feel like it’s time for a new one. It’s just the right thing to do.
My mom has a long history of keeping her cell phone in her back pocket (and occasionally losing her phone out of her back pocket). One day while I was home for Christmas, I found her pacing around downstairs, looking for her cell phone, which is always in her “LEFT back pocket!!!” but was, alas, not in her left back pocket. She decided to try calling her phone to see if she could trace the ringing.
You can imagine her surprise when her pants started ringing and she discovered that she had put her cell phone in her right back pocket.
Over the past few months I’ve been writing down tangible, actionable things that correspond with the list of puritanical sentiments I expressed last week. I’m trying to tackle one of these things every month and it was pretty easy to pick the first one.
I’ve been wanting to interview my parents for a long time—not a Barbara-Walters-style sit-down interview, but more of an ongoing conversation with a new question or two every week during our FaceTime conversations. They probably won’t be Barbara-Walters-style questions, either. I just want to know more about their lives: the things they remember, the things that make them laugh, the things they’ve learned.
For whatever reason, I’ve had trouble getting this one off the ground, so I wanted to put an end to that by making it first on the list. And honestly, even though other things on the list might have more global importance, this one is probably the most important one to me. My parents are getting older. My dad is 83. My mom is 71. They are in reasonably good health, but are reasonably aging. I don’t feel like I can be casual about having more time to do this in the future.
So I’m doing it! I’m writing down questions as they come to mind and recording the answers when we chat on FaceTime. This, like many worthwhile endeavors, is a simple, free thing. I just needed the forward momentum to actually do it.
Do you guys have a January thing? It doesn’t have to be a resolution-y thing, just anything you’re making some celebrate-able forward progress on this month(ish).
P.S. This is something I feel comfortable tackling on my own because asking people questions/recording interviews/writing about it is kind of my entire job as a writer. But if this is something you want to do but don’t feel comfortable doing it, I’ve heard great things about StoryWorth, a service that asks your loved ones weekly questions, records their answers, and puts it into a book for you at the end of the year.