loved from the start

You know those picture slideshows they put on repeat at high school graduation open houses, funerals. wedding receptions, funeral visitations, anniversary parties, retirement parties, any gathering that celebrates someone’s life?

That is what it looks like behind my eyes when I try to think of my first memory.

It shuffles through stills of settings and objects from the first house I ever lived in, which means I was somewhere between 2 and 3 when I started “remembering”.

Gold carpeting. Sitting under the blond wood of our dinner table.  A stool with a handmade cover in a corner for timeouts.  Pink milk from the neighbor lady.  A pretty purple room.  My Raggedy Ann doll.  The nursery with an ABC theme.  The Muppet Show with my dad.

We moved from that house when I was 3 years old.  Eddie’s age.

Yet, I remember it.

my little brother Chris and me when we were Charlie and Eddie’s ages.

I’ve searched old photos for the things that reside in my mind, but have not found many of them.

I’ve asked my mom what rooms in that house looked like and was rewarded with descriptions I was already vaguely aware of.

I realized that my first memories are of things. Not people.  Not events.  Not relationships.

For instance, I remember watching The Muppet Show with my dad.  I don’t actually remember sitting with my dad, though.  I just know it was with him and not anyone else, though I don’t know how I know that.

All of this makes me wonder…what about our house…our life…is Eddie’s little mind going to cling to and manifest as his “first” memory?

I don’t remember my brother being born when I was 2 1/2 (the same age Eddie was when Charlie was born), but I do remember the nursery being his.  It was mine first, but I don’t remember it as “mine”.

Will Eddie think of the green walls and jungle animals and always associate it as Charlie’s?  Despite the two years it was his?  Despite all the time he spent with me an his daddy rocking in that very room?

I don’t remember eating at our kitchen table or my mom cooking, but I do remember sitting under the table for whatever reason.

Will Eddie remember our high top kitchen table and his own place mat?  Or will he only remember things that were eye-level?

Will he remember running up and down the hall at top speed? Or will he only remember the end of the hall where he was sent to time out?

Will he remember wrestling and “pig piling” on the living room floor?

Will he remember the “toy room” downstairs?

Will any piece of our furniture stick in his mind?

What about his Big Boy room?  Will he remember the colors? The monkey theme?  The rock star stuff that he loves so much?  How particular toys sit? Maybe he will remember how he asked daddy to take the giant bear out of the room because it was “spooky”.

Cort and I don’t plan on this being our forever home, but we are not anywhere NEAR ready to move anywhere.  Maybe being here longer will make the house and it’s contents stick in the boys’ memories better.

All I know is this:

I hope they remember the laughter, not the tears…

…the smiles not the arguments…

…what it felt like to laugh so hard they were gasping for air…

…that if they called, we came…

…the spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen…

…forgetting our indoor voices as we sing ridiculous songs at the top of our lungs…

…”bothering” daddy because it’s funny to get him to giggle when he is tired…

…laughing at toots…

…dinner table questions about what heaven is like and why people poop…

Eddie and Charlie showing me how they dance.

I don’t remember much from being 3 years old, but I am sure the house I remember was filled with love and smiles.

I consider myself lucky to be able to say, “my first memory is of being loved.”

I hope that is what my boys can say too.  That as far back as they can remember, they were loved.

Fiercely.

This post is linked with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. As I’m wiping tears from my face, I want to thank you for this post. Well done. Everything in our home has just been a little off the last few days, and we’ve all remarked on it to each other, but none of us can quite put a finger on what feels off. These little discussions, thankfully, end with an I Love You, and that’s all that really matters. Thank you for reminding me.

  2. I can’t get past that adorable 3-year-old face! That picture definitely captured the “I am well-loved and deliriously happy” smile. I too wonder what my kids’ memories will highlight. We take an annual vacation to a music festival just outside of Yosemite each Labor Day weekend. Twelve years running. They can’t possibly remember individual years, but we’re hoping that traditions like these are what will stick.

  3. Beautiful!

  4. *sniff* I know they will remember that they were first loved, of course. And you have this blog here as proof (yay blogging!).

    I was just thinking about this today as I was lunching alone (I KNOW! And of course I was thinking of the boys). I was thinking I sure hope they remember the good times, the times when I wasn’t short and snippy and snappy and just a not-so-good Mama. I hope they remember that above all else, we love them fiercely.

  5. I don’t remember a lot either. I look at pictures of me when I was little and I got nothing. My first real memory is much older, starting school. A few random ones in between, like my sister forgetting me at church *there is 11 years between me and the next oldest* . The best part of us being parents now is we have forums like blogging to enable our children to find their roots. It won’t just be a papaw or mommy told me, there will be a journal for their lifetime.

    • Wow, Angel! Same here. This is amazing. I usually never hear of people who are this similar in not recalling anything prior to school starting. My earliest memory is the first day of kindergarten, nothing before. In fact, I thought my sisters and I didn’t get along as children because I couldn’t remember us ever being together. However, my mother has mountains of pictures that prove otherwise. I’m glad for that. I just wish I could remember it.

  6. This is a beautiful post. That is my wish for my children, too. No matter what their first memories, I hope they remember the love and the laughter.

  7. I think you are reading my mind with this post. As we are working on getting our new house built I have been wondering these same things….and dealing with the fact that our little guy refuses to believe we might move because this is his house. But will our little girl remember any of this? Or only remember through pictures? Interesting thoughts…. Kates, you are so good at putting these thoughts down into words. Thanks!

  8. I have the same hopes – that they will remember all of the good times we’ve had so far and that the not-so-good will just fade away because they are in the minority of their mind. I hope that I’ve filled their childhood with happiness and smiles and funny faces.

  9. I don’t recall much from childhood. My earliest memory is from kindergarten, so I don’t know what’s up with that. I do wonder (and worry) what my kids’ memories will be like. Will they remember me as a yeller? Will they remember me asleep on the sofa? Will they know it’s because I’d had three drinks instead of the one I said I was going to stop after? I hope they remember some of the same things you wish for Charlie and Eddie. I hope there is enough goodness for them to hold on to.

  10. Stopped by from Mama Kat’s – loved your post. I have early memories of things and events, too – like you said. And a great wish for all Moms for their kids. Have a great day!

  11. Those picture slideshows always make me cry. They are such a time capsule of a life and memories and love.

    This post made me cry too… and this is my wish for Lucas too.

    xoxo