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