Friday, January 9, 2015

Early Memories

One of my earliest memories is a snippet of a moment. A single snapshot of random life. Held in my memory as just still frame. But seen from my perspective, and real enough that I know it wasn't a picture I later saw somewhere, but something seen with my own eyes.

I couldn't have been more than 3. I was standing, in the kitchen. I can almost feel the red and brown squares of the linoleum beneath my bare feet. The yellow-greenish color of the oven in front of me. Staring up at the brown cabinets. The skinny cabinet, just to the left of the oven was open. I remember, clearly, the jars of baby food lined up neatly on the bottom two shelves of the cabinet, so high above me. They were green and yellow, tiny jars. The round glass ones, with metal lids.

And that's it.

There's no sound or smell associated with it. No feelings at all, other than curiosity about the jars. I was just there, looking.

I wonder, though... what was it about that moment that embedded itself so strongly in my memory? Why is it 30-something years later I remember it so clearly? Why has my mind held on to that, when it's forgotten so many other (much more useful!) things?

And that leads me to wonder... what are the first memories my kids will have? Will it be something big and exciting? Will it be something frightening? Will it be a quiet, loving moment with me (oh, how I wish it to be this!)? Or will it be a random moment of the mundane?

Right now, E says he remembers when he was in heaven before he was born (a conclusion he came to all on his own; we've never told him that's where babies are before they're born). He says he remembers "just a'waitin'". It's an interesting thing. But I wonder if he will hold on to this, or something else will replace it.

The kid, well, he just starts to make up fanciful stories about his first memories when asked (i.e. after he heard what E said, he just expanded on that). So I'm not really sure what it truly is. Likely, neither is he.

But, seeing as how I never talked about this particular memory until a few years ago (and not for any particular reason, other than it never came up), it seems plausible that they may not even realize right now what their earliest memories are.

So I'm curious... what are your earliest memories? Also, do you think there's a reason why those particular things have stuck with you?

Today's Lesson: The mind, and memories, are tricky things. We never know exactly what they'll hold on to, or why. Sometimes the things we most want to remember (a particular look of a loved one... a fact for an important test... our babies' first words) seem to be lost. While the seemingly unimportant (where baby food was stored when we were toddlers) remains.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My favorite part of Christmas

So Christmas wasn't as awful as I'd been afraid it would be. It wasn't magical (for me at least), but it was fine. I think my favorite part overall was just not having to deal with school and work (for hubby; I still went to work many days). I still feel like I need a week or two to recover and get all the things done that didn't get done (lord how I hate laundry). But, well, you know how that goes.

However, there is one moment that stands out as my absolute favorite memory. You might think it has to do with decorating cookies (God, no. That was stressful and I lost my shit over the most ridiculous thing while we were doing that. So much so that I need to decide whether we need to do those ever again. And, that's solely contingent on whether I can behave myself, mind you). Or how grateful the kids were for all of their gifts (and they were, but, well, that's not exactly memorable). Or how enthralled E was with the Christmas concert (he was, totally. And I did enjoy that, but the kid was in BIG TROUBLE  and that stress overshadowed the concert and many other things). Or how the boys seemed to "get" why we were taking so many presents to another family (they did, and then sat glued to the tv at the family's house because holycrapthetvisON!!!!). 

But no. It was none of those things.

So let me tell you what it was.

It was Christmas  Day. We were at hubby's paternal grandmother's house. Now, FIL is one of 12 (yes, 12) children. And hubby has like 50 something (maybe more?) first cousins. And many of those cousins now have children, too. And hubby's grandmother's house is about, I don't know, 1500sq ft. So, family gatherings are, um, chaotic, busy, loud, chaotic, shoulder-to-shoulder-packed-in-there, chaotic... you get the picture. Everyone brings a dish and lunch is potluck style down in the basement. It's chaotic. (Have I mentioned that yet?) For some reason, there's never any alcohol there. Now, this is a huge Catholic family so I really don't know why there's no alcohol. But there just never is. Perhaps with that many people in that small of a space it wouldn't be a good idea. Tho I tend to think it would. For me at least.

Everyone was settling down to eat. The boys and I were sitting at a card table with hubby on the couch right next to us. FIL's fiance (topic for a different post. Or 3.) and my SIL were also sitting with us. E was clearly hungry and was shoveling food into his mouth. The kid was super distracted by everything going on and hardly could finish a sentence before something else grabbed his attention, much less actually finish a bite of food.

One of hubby's aunts popped her head down the stairs and asked if anyone would like a glass of wine. Before anyone else had time to even process her question (because, what? Wine? Here? What the what?), I looked over and noticed that my sweet, quiet, innocent 4yo's hand had SHOT up into the air. He was sitting as tall as he could in his seat, holding his arm completely straight, waving that little hand like his life depended on it. His eyes were huge and his mouth slightly open in a little "o". He wasn't taking his eyes of hubby's aunt. He didn't make a peep. He wanted that wine, y'all.

And I died (DIED!!!!!) laughing. Like, tears streaming down my face, about to fall out of my seat, my face hurts, laughing.

Hubby's aunt, also died laughing. And then she said, "does anyone besides E want some wine?". And everyone caught on to what had just happened and the room erupted in laughter.

E slowly caught on that he wasn't going to get the wine. And, since he doesn't at all enjoy being the center of attention, he slowly put his hand down and resumed eating, not making eye contact with anyone.

Before you start to think that he just thought it was juice, or just something special in general. Let me clarify. This child really does like wine. He'll steal sips of it whenever he can. He is a wine thief.

After we'd been sitting there a few minutes, and everyone had moved on and was eating happily, I heard my sweet baby E mutter under his breath, "but I do want the wine. I do. I DO!".

And I died laughing again.

I love this child, y'all. Love. Him.

Today's Lesson: Some of us are planners. And some of us planners think we can plan fun. Plan joy. Plan magic. But the best of those things, well, they just happen. And usually when we least expect them.