Things You Forget Until You Remember
There and then are pushed aside to make room.
I hate to think of all the sweet little sounds, gestures and moments I've forgotten to remember.
Recently, my mother was telling me how my new (ish) neice, who is 6 months old, is struggling to find her thumb. She eschews pacifiers most vehemently, but she needs something with which to soothe herself. Somehow she knows that the something is right there at the end of her hand. But she lacks the dexterity to maneuver it into her sweet, kissable little mouth.
And suddenly, a memory returned to me, as often happens; triggered by a thing in my present.
Pubescent One, from birth, was a voraciously oral child. But like my neice, he disdained anything not composed of warm, pliable flesh. As soon as his hands were freed from the confines of my womb, he began searching for his thumb.
This was enormously frustrating for both of us.
I would guide his tiny fist to his grasping mouth and he would latch onto it greedily, sighing through his nose with pleasure, his little eyes rolling back in his head as his eyelids drifted shut. Bliss.
But it never stayed there long. His little limbs were subject to random movements that he was powerless to control. And once lost, he couldn't retrieve the coveted digit by himself. I can't tell you how many times I ran to the nursery to help him find his thumb before he woke himself completely and realized he could do with a snack.
When he was about 8 weeks old, he developed a method that was very effective and surprisingly ingenious.
He would raise his arm in front of his face, peer at it with great concentration, drop it onto his forehead and drag his fist down until he had located his nose. From there it was simply a matter of following his nose until he reached his mouth. It worked like a charm.
I always knew when he was getting sleepy, alerted by the SMACK as his little fist struck his tender brow.
I had forgotten all about that. How could I?
The same way I've forgotten countless other things, I suppose.
I like that memory. It speaks of who the person he is today and was even then; determined, resourceful and smart.
I don't want to forget it again. And now I won't.