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trying to remember

I have a horrible memory, it turns out.  If I’ve seen a movie or read a book more than a year ago, I can see or read it again almost as if it were the first time.  This has gone on for a while now, forgetting. I have entire periods of my life that I cannot remember.  I tend to think some of that is stress management – you know, blocking out the most stressful stuff.  And then again I think some of the forgetting is just plain stress related.  It’s one of the reasons I keep old emails and tickets and paper trails of various little events.  It helps me remember.

Lately, I find myself trying to remember all sort of things, places, people.  Like my sister.  Her voice.  Her features.  Like her freakishly round toes.  Her personality, her way.  Of being goofy enough to wear yellow nailpolish and get into the dirt with toddlers.  And mature enough to be the most supportive and wise younger sister any big sister could hope for.  

And when I try but can’t remember parts of my childhood, I sigh at the reminder.  That the one person who lived it the way I did, who could remind me of all those years, whose memories I trust…is gone.  It’s just a shame.  That we don’t get to banter all those memories back and forth.  And that I have such a crappy memory.

This is why I find myself trying to almost breathe in certain moments with James and the girls.  To make those moments an actual part of me that I can’t lose.  I find myself wanting to capture whatever is before me and hold onto it so tightly that I couldn’t possibly forget, couldn’t possibly lose whatever it is about a moment in time that makes it so special. 

The other day I gave Ashlyn a bath.  There she was in my arms, bundled in a towel, clean and cherubic, breathing noisily and grinning. I enjoyed the moment so much it hurt a little.  If I could have I would have folded up the smells and the sounds and her angelic little face and tucked it into my pocket to bring out again and again.

Of course, I did the next best thing.  The blog-mommy thing. I grabbed my camera and cuddled her as closely as I could while snapping away.  This wasn’t the best of those pictures, but it was the true-est.  The one that brings me back to that little moment instantly.  I can almost smell the lavendar baby wash and hear the gurgling under her tongue.

I wish it were easier for me, remembering.  Today on NPR I listened to a 21-year-old woman recall a memory from when she was six years old; she described the touch, the scene, her thoughts – as if it had happened an hour ago.  I want that ability.  If I can’t hang onto time, I want to be able to hang on to the memory of it.

Am I the only one who sometimes feels the sting of a precious moment because it’s about to be over?

Lucy - She’s lovely, Crystal. Thanks for sharing your moment.

Jackie - You’re not the only one trust me! I find it hard to remember anything before 6th grade. And some days it really bothers me. I look at pictures and wonder why I can’t remember. But I have to thanks my parents for taking pictures! I may not have the memories but I at least have the pictures of the fun things I did and fun places we went. If it weren’t for the pictures, all of my childhood memories would be lost to me.
I am sure someday your girls will appreciate all the pictures you are taking of them. They will love being able to look back on their childhood memories!

Andrea - I’m right there with ya. My memory sucks and I hate that. I feel so disappointed in myself when I can’t recall what Eve was like at a certain age, or a date Daniel and I went on before we got married… It’s not even long ago stuff, it can be from last week. I’m hoping my memory recovers from having children. Not holding my breath though.
I journal. That helps :)

The NON-Superwoman - Oh wow! I could have easily written this post as I feel the exact same way. Watching these babies of mine grow up way too fast makes me want to freeze frame every little moment….breathe it in like you say. And it turns out I have a bad memory too. So funny that we have similar posts today.

Crystal - Hi. I came across your blog while looking for apron patterns. I’m addicted to it already. Your babies are beautiful and your stories are touching. I’ve laughed and cried all within 15 minutes while reading the first page of your blog. I’m looking forward to reading your older posts.

vanessa - I am the kind of person who remembers Everything small, big, the important, the unimportant, the everyday going ons, It’s hard to forget. It’s nice when I look back on things about my boys but when it comes to heartache I wish I could forget. The little things stick in my mind and are brought back from doing something in the now.
I guess that’s why I scrap book, I try to get it out of my head on to paper so that it can have a resting place.
In reading your blog you share a lot of things about your girls and your current feelings and doings. It would be easy to print out our blog post and save them in a journal since you don’t scrap, hey if you add the pictures with the journal pages it would be scrap booking!

Emily - I know this is an older post but I forget that there are blogs I like to read and then have to “catch up” over a day or two (no memory!) Your blog is the most enduring, sweet, and almost totally pure work of art…I’ve enjoyed so many of your posts…and this one is one I can most relate to! It’s almost like I wrote this post…I find myself stopping and breathing in memories too! My memory is non-existant and I try to cling to precious times that I share with my family now too…It’s so sad that I can hardly remember my firstborn as a baby…and it was only 5 yrs ago…My heart is with you in these frustrations and I’m so glad you share your life with us. Thank you!

traci - I know I’m really late on this, but I feel this way. when my daughter was born just a few months ago (feels like a life time) I said to my mother one night, “I want to remember this forever. I never want to forget this feeling, how she feels and smells and wonderful it is to finally have her here.”
I can’t remember now. And I think about that all the time. I have new memories I want to hold onto, but I feel like I can’t. There’s a song from my childhood about memories in jars and such. I wish life could be contained in such ways.
Thanks for putting this is such a wonderful and beautiful way. You’ve touched me.