…except I don’t, at least not always. Every now and then I get reminded (by my children) that all memories are not created equal in that some are easier to remember than others.
I’m sure anyone with multiple children (or even one child) can relate-as a parent you get asked by your children, occasionally, as I was asked just this evening, questions like, “What was my first movie in a theater?”
Immediately, Beauty and the Beast came to mind. It was my oldest child’s first movie outside of our home. I can remember sitting in the dark. I can remember that she was three. I can remember worrying whether she would last the entire movie without melting down or something, or whether she would be scared…
And then, digging deeper, thinking deeper, I brought to the surface The Swan Princess, my younger daughter’s first movie, or so I thought an hour ago. Now that I’m rethinking it, it was definitely Thumbelina. I think.
But my memory has failed me when I try to conjure the image of my son’s–my youngest’s–first movie on the big screen. I know I was there. I know it was memorable. I know we enjoyed ourselves. But I can rack my brain until tomorrow, and I’m not sure I can remember the title of that movie. I can guess that unlike Beauty and the Beast and Thumbelina, it was something very boy-like, whatever that means, exactly…
And the thing is, much of this is written down, somewhere, in some book or on some calendar or photographed for the ages. Of course, I’m not sure where to find much of that information or many of those photographs. Like many new parents, my oldest child’s baby book is bulging at the seams; my second child’s baby book is modestly complete–very modestly. My youngest child’s baby book is non-existent in that it is, well, empty for lack of a better word.
In my defense, I religiously kept a first-year baby calendar for each child, complete with stickers for milestones, handwritten notes, first words, accomplishments, etc. It’s all there, and I know where to find those calendars–validation! And while I have a photo album dedicated to my first child’s first year, and a partial photo album dedicated to my second child’s first…three months?…I do not have any photo album dedicated to my son’s first, anything. However, I have boxes and boxes and boxes of photos in which he is the star or a supporting character surrounded by his siblings.
Such guilt for a mother! And what I tell them (or should tell them) is this: While my brain is far too small to remember so many details, and my thoughts and limbs were far too stretched to remember to write everything down, my heart is big enough to hold those memories forever, and even if I can’t articulate the facts; I can certainly feel the joy and remember the essence of those moments. It is all there captured in a way that doesn’t always translate to specifics. But I do remember–everything–in one way or another.
And I very clearly remember each of them coming into this world. After that, I can’t make any promises except to say that every moment has been committed to my heart rather than my brain. And the accumulation of those moments has filled my heart beyond capacity. My brain is lacking; my heart knows no bounds.