Did you know the average child doesn’t begin developing memories until age two?
This means that for the first two years of a child’s life, they really have no recollection of the early moments: being born, sleeping on their mama/papa’s chests, nursing.
They have no recollection of their early milestones: tracking, giggling, first words, waving hi or bye, rolling over, crawling.
They have no recollection of their early fine motor skills: bringing a bottle or fork to their mouth, putting a block into a bucket, coloring. They just do them. Repetition is their form of learning.
But actual memories–like being able to relay back a story … that doesn’t happen until age two, more or less.
Tonight, while putting Maya to bed, I had the realization that I blog so she remembers. So she always knows just how much I loved her, when she was so small. So she knows how much my heart swells with love and adoration for this little human being we created. So she knows how I feel in.this.moment. about her.
Because I know I won’t always be the center of her universe. There will come a time when she and I are at odds … whether it’s because she wants to quit the soccer team or because she’s dating a boy we don’t approve of, or because she is being a typical teenage girl, being sassy to her mom.
I want her to be able to look back on these posts where I talk about the explosive love I feel for her, and realize that though she has no memories of these special moments … they did exist. And I want her to know, they’ll continue to exist. Differently as she gets older, to be sure … but they will exist.
I don’t remember what it was like to lay in my mom’s arms while she rocked me to sleep as an infant — but I know she did; know she felt love for me like I feel for Maya. I feel her love when — even as recently as this summer — I lay my head in her lap and she rubs my forehead. It’s the smallest gesture, but it takes me back to being little and home sick with a sore throat. It takes me back to the smell of Luden’s Honey Licorice cough drops and the fizz of ginger-ale and the sweet, creamy sherbert she’d bring me. The warmth of her body enveloping mine in a “feel better, Lissy,” hug.
I know that my dad — who worked nights when I was little — would wake me and have special daddy-daughter reading time when he came home from work. I don’t remember those nights, but I have fond memories of him making blankets “toasty” by laying them on the fireplace for a minute and putting them on us to keep us extra warm and then tucking us into bed, “snug as a bug in a rug.”
I share these memories because that’s what I remember. Those are my early, tangible memories of my parents’ love for me. I know they have a million memories, but I was too little to recollect them.
I blog so Maya remembers … so she knows … so she understands. Where she came from, how she has grown and changed. We see a beautiful, smart and kind little girl growing up before our eyes.
We see someone who shares her apple/cracker/cheese with her stuffed giraffe and talks on the phone to “Mamama and Pop.” (my parents). We see someone who gingerly puts her babies under a blanket, tucking them in. We see someone who whispers, “Te amo, Mommy/Daddy,” to us before bed. We see someone who tells Rocco, “No Rocco; Rocco HOUSE,” when he is misbehaving and pats him when he’s being good. We see someone who loves to repeat what we say and “sing” and dance and act silly. We see someone who wears big-girl ponytails and sometimes goes pee-pee on the potty and says “please” and “thank you” and loves to hide from her mommy and daddy and pop her head out, in a fit of giggles. We see someone who, at nearly two, is testing her limits each day — and learning the consequences. And we see someone whose double-dimpled grin can make us stop what we’re doing and just marvel at her sweetness.
I blog so she remembers. And, selfishly — or maybe not so selfishly — I blog so I remember.
How about you? What is your first memory?