The way my father expressed TLC sometimes tilted toward the rough and gruff, but there was no mistaking it as Love In Action; and it provided substance for some of my earliest childhood memories.
Sometimes I think there's something wrong with me, though: my power of recollection is miserable.
I suppose that's one reason I enjoy blogging; recording thought and experience helps me to remember. I've never been a consistent journaler but I admire those who are; maybe it's because I don't enjoy writing longhand. I'm sure it's why I loved the One Line a Day/five-year memory book--short and sweet.
My childhood memories are scant. Sometimes I wonder if that's because my mom was so sick the five years preceding her death, I intentionally tried to block memory. I don't think that's necessarily the case, but I do wonder.
Which makes the memories I DO have all the more special.
Even if they aren't the happiest of memory--like when I sprained my ankle trying to stand on the banana seat of my bike after seeing a circus act--I hold them tight and close to prevent them from becoming ghosts of memory-past.
Crazy as this sounds, it's one of the main reasons I said yes when Vicks VapoRub asked me to join their Winter blogging campaign--because of how strongly that product is tied to childhood memory ~~~
I can still envision the scene, repeated several times over. Our small three-bedroom apartment, a console TV facing the curly-maple antique coffee table that sat in front of a patchwork sofa where I camped out during the day. When I had a Winter cold, I'd pop Bayer baby aspirin and Coricidins like candy; for some reason, it made me feel like a grown-up.
Sometimes I couldn't breathe, my nose so stuffy blowing it didn't help a bit. But my dad had the cure-all in a little blue bottle--Vicks VapoRub.
His actions were gruff-tender--rubbing Vicks from neck to chest then covering with a bath cloth so my pajamas wouldn't get messy. He'd fill the vaporizer and plug it in (anyone else remember hovering your face over it to feel the mist blow in your face?). But then the part I hated: cramming a glop of Vicks up my nostrils.
I'd squirm and writhe to get away (he didn't care for that too much).
I'd protest and beg "Noooo!" (fell on deaf ears)
He definitely had the size advantage.
And when all was said and done, it worked! I could breathe easier and always felt better.
But mostly I felt loved.
When I was older and could finally read the small print that instructed you not to cram Vicks up your nose, I shared the information with my father (he was of the opinion I still needed his help with the product). He wasn't impressed and I'm pretty sure he never stopped using it his way.
And to this day, whenever I open the lid of Vicks VapoRub and smell those mentholly, eucalyptusy vapors, I think of my father.
And I still feel the love. His love.
The strength of memory is tied to the senses I suppose; in this case I can see, smell, feel and hear history.
Your turn: Can you relate? Do you have a strong sense-memory from your childhood? What are your oldest memories (and can anyone else "amen" my Vicks story?)? I'd love to hear about 'em!! If you aren't a blogger, share in comments; if you are, please link a related current OR past post below. I linked one from yesterday to getcha started :)
And to earn my keep as a Vicks VapoRub blogger*, would you please head over to their Facebook page and give 'em a Like? They won't overfill your wall with updates and you'll get notice on new product releases, fun giveaways, and interactive commenting. And you'll see what their first VapoDad, Drew Brees, has to say about Vicks VapoRub :).
*In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm compensated for my time in writing product-related posts, though I wouldn't dare agree if they told me what to say!!