Remember

September 23, 2008

“You’re not going to remember any of it anyway,” was what she said. I felt like she had just socked me in the stomach. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but forgetting makes perfect sense. I do it all the time.

But this? I’m not going to remember this?
I guess she would know, she’s been through it.

The sleepless nights, the loads of diapers and laundry, the tantrums, the baths, the food flung across the floor. Those are the things she was referring to, saying I’d forget all of that. She was meaning to encourage me. And yes, I don’t really mind that I’ll forget all of that. I will enjoy my hindsight rose colored glasses when they arrive years from now.

But I would gladly remember all of the stress and strain, fatigue and frustration vividly if it meant I would remember all the rest just the same.

Because it makes me sad to realize that I’m also bound to forget the beauty of these years. That fresh out of the bath smell. That toothy grin. The way Miles says ‘careful’ about five different ways, all of them hilarious. The wiggle of Asher’s shoulders as he does a little dance. The pudgy little fingers holding tight to that blankie. Those pouty little lips. That laugh. Oh, that laugh from the gut that surrounds me and makes me feel hugged. I will miss that. I don’t want to forget.

She said that even though she had pictures and videos, it wasn’t the same. She still couldn’t remember on her own. The pictures were reminders, but not experiences. The videos seemed to be of a child she no longer knows, because she can’t remember.

I suppose it’s like my own childhood memories, vague and a bit fuzzy around the edges. Some more vivid, but always fleeting. Like a dream you wake up from and try to get back to by quickly closing your eyes and willing yourself to remember. Most of the time you can’t. I suppose it’s like that.

I wish I was going to be able to remember it all. Miles and I running through puddles in a down pour at the Farmer’s Market, splashing and laughing. Miles a little unsure at first, then looking at me, reading my face and relaxing, letting himself have fun in the rain. His drenched hair and wide eyes. The slap-slap-slap of his shoes as he ran. The smell of rain, herbs and flowers in the air as I listened to the thunder and my son’s laughter. Oh, how I want to remember.

“You’re not going to remember it anyway.”

I thought about forgetting so much after this conversation. I thought my heart would break at the realization that I’m going to forget.

Then I thought about the future, pictured myself sitting there trying to remember. I imagined it and realized that the mom in that photo in my mind wasn’t sad. This Future Me wasn’t sad. Because these two boys were still there, making new memories with me. They were 6 and 8, or 16 and 18. They were 30 and 32. And I imagined how I will still be there, wanting to eat up every moment, pouring my love on them and watching their lives.

Even if I’m not going to remember it all, I want to live it all. There’s not a thing, good or bad, I want to miss.

Maybe I’ll be blessed with a good memory in this regard, maybe I won’t. But that will not stop me from living fully aware of the details and fine lines, the tones and the under-tones, the expressions and vivid moments full of life and laughter. The scrunched up nose and crocodile tears. The look in their eyes while they make new discoveries. The feel of their skin. The sound of their voices. Right now. Today.

I am living what I might forget. But I am still going to live it. As long as they are mine to hold in this life, I will live it with them. That makes all the sad thoughts of forgetting turn to happy thoughts of living, eyes turned toward today rather than yesterday. And a heart filled with joy in the expectancy of tomorrow.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t hope that I’ll remember.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah September 23, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Umm… that was beautiful. I can’t say I usually come close to tears when reading posts online, but today you brought me there. Perhaps it’s my own child growing SO fast — too fast — and the fear that I’ll never remember the little sweet things. The way he dances to music, the way he takes all the movies off the shelf, the way he drives his little truck around the room, his hugs and his love.
But you’re right… it’s better to realize that I’ll love the “next-week-him” just as well if not more. So I’m going to live today for today, even if I may forget it.
Thank you for a wonderful wonderful post.

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Kristina P. September 23, 2008 at 2:31 pm

What a lovely post!

Did you submit your posts for the book?

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Kimberly September 23, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Near to tears here too…that was incredible, Heather. I want to publish a book of inspiring essays suddenly just so I can ask you to submit that. Wow.

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a Tonggu Momma September 23, 2008 at 2:58 pm

That was so beautiful, Heather.

I must say I feel so grateful for the Tongginator movies that my husband creates every year (a combination of video and photos, mostly set to music, with some audio). When the Tongginator was two… ummm… how can I say this? She acted like a Tongginator. I do remember thinking people were crazy when they approached me in stores or elsewhere, raving about how cute my daughter was, both physically and in personality.

The husband made her two-year-old video when she was well into her threes. I sat watching it for the first time and all of these wonderful memories came rushing back. The “bad stuff” fell away. And I thought, “she really WAS adorable. A total Tongginator, but an adorable one at that.”

Moral of the Story – now I’m much better at living in the moment.

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Lisa September 23, 2008 at 3:20 pm

When I watch video of the kids from years ago I wonder if it was possible that they could have been so amazingly cute and funny. And did I not realize it at the time? But I think I DID realize it. I hope I’ll never lose those memories completely.

I loved this post. Thanks for the reminder. I will remember to love them and enjoy them for who they are today, so I can hopefully remember better tomorrow!

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*MARY* September 23, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Wow, I need to go play with my kids.

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...sensible of shoe September 23, 2008 at 3:30 pm

I am crying!

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Abra September 23, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Beautiful Heather… your writing either has me laughing those huge guttural belly laughs, or crying, tears streaming down my face. You have a real gift!

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Bonnie Lewis September 23, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Heather,

that was wonderful. on my wedding day only three months ago people kept telling us that we were going to forget the whole day. at the time, it made me insta depressed. the WHOLE day? but my husband (of like one hour!!) just smiled, hugged me and said no, we wont. so now, it’s three months later. i have forgotten some, but i remember snap shots, and the best part is that I know that what I remember is what I need to andthe memories that we are making now only make the beginning that much stronger.

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K and/or K September 23, 2008 at 11:12 pm

The only way to make this post better is if “I don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith was playing in the background. Not even kidding. Love that song!

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Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel September 24, 2008 at 2:57 am

As a Mom, this got me right here! This post is making me all sniffly. I’m already feeling all weird anywway because my baby girl is turning 18 and baby boy turning 16 next month…And the thoughts you expressed so poignant, so beautiful, so true to my heart. Beautiful job, Heather! I have to go get a tissue now :-(

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Mommy Madness September 24, 2008 at 9:38 am

One of my biggest fears is forgetting the tender moments with my Kiddies. Love your post!

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Rachel September 24, 2008 at 10:36 am

beautifully said, Heather, beautifully said. I appreciate your focus on living in each moment, each day. We can’t control what we will remember or what tomorrow will bring, but we can pursue special memories each day.

What/when/where is the tc blogging get-together?

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Eowyn September 24, 2008 at 11:16 am

Wow! That was amazing. I want to go make in depth writings and recordings of all of my children now.

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Peanut September 24, 2008 at 11:19 am

Nearly 3 years in, I already can’t believe the stuff I’ve forgotten. Really the only things I remember are those that we have pictures or movies of, or that I wrote about.

But as much as I (privately) grieve the passing of each stage, I also look forward to and enjoy each coming stage… so I just take as many pictures and movies as I can, and write as often as I can.

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LazyCrazyMama September 24, 2008 at 11:20 am

How beautiful! Awesome post! Here’s hoping that we all remember! They grow so fast, and it’s so hard sometimes to stop and savor the moment and put it in your memory.

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Becky September 24, 2008 at 12:03 pm

This was a perfect post for me this week. I’ve been cranky with my kids because they’re so darn time-consuming. And LOUD! But I know that even just a year from now, I’ll be wishing I’d spent that time more wisely. Thanks for the reminder.

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charrette September 24, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Beautiful post. For a minute there I thought it was going to be something tragic or disturbing, but instead so very sweet and uplifting. You captured it all so perfectly.

Make sure you send this one to the Bloggers Annex.

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happygeek September 24, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Grr.
You made me cry.
Ruined my mascara.
Oh wait. I Don’t wear Mascara.
So crying over this post, it’s a good thing.
Great post.

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Lauren September 24, 2008 at 11:04 pm

So amazing. So true.
Ever since Caleb was a baby I would get so sad when he reached a new milestone. I’d say “Oh, my baby, don’t grow up.” I had to stop my whining when he said to me “Mommy, won’t you like me when I’m older?” At least I think that’s what he said. Who can remember exactly:)

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MoziEsmé September 26, 2008 at 7:04 am

Beautiful post! I keep snapping photos and writing blog posts in an attempt not to forget, but the early moments of babyhood have already faded away. Thankfully there are always new moments to enjoy.

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BoufMom9 September 29, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Beautiful post! Made me teary-eyed. (my babies are turning two this week and it’s FLYING by way too fast!)

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adlibby February 22, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Wow! That really resonated with me. My babies… sweet babies who smelled so nice after a bath and clung to me, are now 7 and 10 and playing Mario Cart on the Wii in the basement. How did this happen? I already look at the older one and know that I’ve forgotten so much of how magical her babyhood was. We wanted her so desperately and after four miscarriages, we nearly swallowed her whole with our love. And yet here she is, this MUCH too beautiful young girl with long legs bouncing through my kitchen in search of a snack.

I wish I could hold onto all the memories too. That may be why I am constantly chasing them around with a camera, and they are constantly saying “Oh Mooooom!”

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LexiconLuvr March 28, 2009 at 10:33 pm

This is so beautiful, Heather. I want to remember it all too but I’ll settle for living it and living it up. Thank you for the reminder of the good stuff.

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Deb March 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

so you achieved your goal, you big stinker! the mcdonald’s story was so funny (and probably falls under the category of ‘forgettable’), and now this tearjerker! this is just beautifully real. i really do want them around forever… i don’t think i’m as well-adjusted as you… i am scared that these are the best days right now. 12 and 15. total individuals, yet still need me. able to discuss politics, but still get on the floor and push around hotwheels. i don’t like the thought of them growing up… in fact i am a little freaked out about it.

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txmomof3 February 12, 2010 at 9:54 am

Writing this blog, for yourself and for your kids, will help you remember. You are giving such a gift to your kids with these words.

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Bennance March 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Wow. Just wow.

I am a new reader of your blog, and your writing moves me in deep ways.

I'm so glad I found this post. Due to a brain injury he suffered 6 years ago, my husband suffers from short term memory loss. We have 3 children under age 10, and I often wonder "what's the point" of making memories (family vacations, other fun activities) when I know my husband most likely won't remember them. I never stop to think that eventually, I too will lose the freshness of these memories. Thank you for the reminder that ultimately, we will be left not with memories, but with the fruit of our labors

Your post is something I will return to again and again.

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