We photograph, videotape, babybook, scrapbook and blog, all in the desperate hope that we will be allowed to relive these precious moments when they are grown and gone; when they have turned into people we love just as fiercely, but whom are unfamiliar to us.
My boys are twelve and eight.
I wish I could say that I have been successful in keeping those memories in the clarity of my present. But I haven't. Against my will, they have become the property of my past. Lifetimes of moments so succulent I could never surely forget them, are gone without my knowing they had ever been there.
But they are kept in the slippery gray folds of my mind, just waiting for something to beckon them forth on tendrils of memory that are like fine silken threads; soft and slender, but strong. Substantial. Enduring.
When this happens, it is a gift.
The other day, I woke late. I had a nightmare, which is a rare thing for me. I was left shaking and sweaty and unable to surrender to sleep again. I finally drifted back to sleep when the first fingers of dawn drew back the curtain of darkness.
When I awoke again, I heard the boys behind the closed door of Pre-Pubescent One's room. They were giggling and whispering in rare collusion. Pre-Pubescent One said something that I couldn't quite make out, his voice lilting in a high, sing-song cadence.
And suddenly a memory swept over me, warm and solid and wholly joyous. It was a thing I had forgotten. A thing I didn't miss because it was so profoundly gone. But once it was teased into tangibility again, it was so very, very clear, it seemed impossible that I could have let it go.
When Pre-Pubescent One was a baby we lived in a small two bedroom townhome. I often slept on the daybed in his nursery, because of husband's snoring. He always woke before me. And he would call to me, eager to start his day.
"Mama. Dood Moooooooooorning!"
"MAMA! DOOD MORNING!"
He was always insistent, but never disconcerted. He would simply cheerfully persist until I responded.
One morning, hoping to buy just a few more minutes, I whispered to him,
He obliged by whispering back...
"mama. dood morning."
I couldn't help but giggle. I looked over to see him peering at me over the crib railing, grinning widely, ready to start his day. Ready to explore his world. Ready to figure stuff out.
This became his standard way of letting me know he was ready to get out of bed, no matter what time of day he was awakening. Hearing him call to me with his unfailing sunnyness always made me smile. It was a testament to his sheer, unexpurgated joy at being alive.
It made my heart sing.
And yet, I forgot it.
But it was given back to me, just for a moment. That silly little sing song voice, not yet changed beyond my recognition, was enough to resurrect it. Sadly, though I am holding it next to my heart with all the strength that a mother's will can muster...I know it will once again slip into the mist of the past.
Unless I write it down. And now I have.
I have committed it to digital memory, which unlike my own, is not so capricious. Maybe he'll read it one day. Maybe he'll remember. Maybe he'll be given the gift of remembering that life was once simple, happy, safe.
A gift for both of us then; that little slice of memory.
I'll take it over diamonds any day.