“A Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”
– Kevin Arnold, The Wonder Years
So often there are moments I say “I need to write this down.” Moments I know I will never get right if I try to recall it years from now, or even next week. Then the moment quickly zooms by and if I do not grab a pen, a computer or my phone to jot it down, it’s gone, life keeps going and I don’t remember what I needed to remember.
Every night as I lay in bed in the dark, before the breathing slows, eyes shut tight and I drift off to sleep, the events of the day cycle through my mind. I tend to narrate every detail of those special moments to my husband. As I continue to wake him from those first seconds of sleep, he’ll sometimes ask me “Why do you choose now to fill me in?” I think it’s because it’s quiet and the reel of brain-film can really only play back in the dark quiet of night. There are not times during the day that would allow me to focus enough to recall small details or little actions. Each day carries it’s own share of crazy. This includes me hurrying Kyle to change into his Karate gee in the car before class because we are running late, making dinner and trying to ignore the fact that Charlie is running around the house with his dish shouting that he wants a taco more than anything for dinner and will not eat anything else. During dinner, there are exciting stories of playing camouflage in the playground and a description of a silly song we heard on the way to school that morning – all while we play the questions game. Our night-time-routine, still in the thick of it, takes every ounce of patience and energy we have to slow down the tempo and stop the boys from practically scaling the walls and ceiling. I cannot recall the right name of the child standing right in front of me, “Chh…Brr…KYLE, Please brush your teeth now.” – never mind the funny detail of events from the day. I often wish I could record those conversations or report-outs in the late hours before I go to sleep. Maybe I should start doing that and transcribe them the next day. Sure, I’ll put that on my to-do list.
So I continue to write a nightly (sometimes morning) journal of each day; hoping I am capturing every witty, funny, crazy, happy detail from these glorious times with my little guys. I am so afraid of forgetting. I am scared of not having these times to look back on because I was so frazzled and hurried that I blurred through them and therefore my memory will surely fail me when I try to recall.
What will I remember? Kyle telling me he was so happy about his day yesterday that he started to cry? Will I remember how smart and observant Charlie is; how he can remember details of streets, people, places and things we did even if was when he was only two years old? Will I remember how Kyle always tells me “Charlie has a good memory, ask him!” Will I remember playing the match game, Uno and Candy Land with them? Will I remember the funny little one-liners Charlie says out-of-the-blue or the logical conclusions that Kyle comes up with in any given situation? Even as I write this now, there things I am already forgetting that I really hoped I would remember when I began to write.
I try to record their favorite things every so often; their favorite movies, favorite toys and favorite songs for that time period. I have their growth charts engraved in each of their closets. I take pictures of their shoes, their artwork and their bedrooms. I videotape simple moments and fun times and sometimes even when they are sleeping.
I try my best to make moments special that are out of their comfort zone or routine. I bought them alarm clocks this week to help get them out of bed on their own. Obviously, that would mostly assist Brendan and I, but it was a big moment for the boys as well. They were proud and felt grown-up to have their very own alarm clock. They woke up early this morning just to hear it go off. I guess it’s working.
Last night, Charlie informed me that he wants an iPod. When I was four years old, I got a life-sized doll. My first Walkman was when I was in high school. He wants an iPod. “Why?” I asked. “So I can put all of my music on it, I like so many different songs and you have to keep making me CDs.” He actually made a good point.
We heard a funny song by Alvin and the Chipmunks on the way to school the other morning. As we pulled up to the school, Kyle asked, “Are all of the windows closed?” I said “Yes, why?” “Just wondering.” He said. “You don’t want anyone to hear the song we are listening to?” “No. I don’t.” He said with a serious face, half smile. I knew then it was happening; life was corrupting him already. I didn’t realize that the kid inside him would start to fade so soon. I will try my best to encourage the child that he still is and should embrace, but respect his choice to be “cool.”
I wonder if I’ll remember the minute details that I love so much right now. Will I remember how Kyle never wants covers when he goes to bed, only wants to sleep in his boxers and t-shirt because he claims he’s too hot, but when I tuck him in before I go to sleep each night, he is bundled up to his chin with the comforter and blankets. Will I remember how difficult it is to get Charlie into bed, stay in bed and actually fall asleep? I think that part will be hard to forget. But will I remember hearing the sweet sound of his first deep breath on the monitor which indicates to me that he is finally asleep?
Will I remember the feeling of Kyle’s small, soft hand in mine as we walk? Will I remember the wet kisses on my cheek that Charlie always likes to sneak? Will I remember the sound of their whispers, their unique facial expressions, the smell of their morning breath when they jump in our bed in the early morning hours on a Saturday? Will I remember the funny games they make up, songs they create and rituals they invent?
I hope I am able to continue to capture all of this and hold on to it all forever. The letting go is healthy too and moving into new phases of their lives is exciting and just as special. So I will remember what I can, write so I can breathe and continue to video and snap tons of pictures. Because I am honored to be the Mother of these two awesome children and this I will always remember.