Memories You Alone Keep | A Mother’s Memories
This holiday season, amidst the chaos and the quiet moments, I came upon the realization that I alone keep some of my most precious and treasured memories.
Like many of you, I spent time with family this holiday season, but I especially valued the time with my daughter, Kelbi. She is in college now, attending a university on the east coast, while I live on the west coast. We spent two weeks just hanging out, relishing the little everyday moments that lend themselves to talking and reminiscing. A priceless Christmas gift.
It was in the reminiscing together that I came upon the realization that Kelbi does not remember some of my most precious memories of her. In all fairness, not many of us recall much before the age of three or four, but that fact did not help me feel less sad about being the sole keeper of those memories.
I had not really thought about it before, after all, those moments happened only a heartbeat ago, or so it feels. Kelbi, however, was too little to remember many of them and faintly recollected others. I know that those moments together are woven into the fabric of who she is and the woman she is becoming. They are reflected in our deep bond and our relationship… but the memories are mine alone.
Memories of a mother with her infant/toddler daughter carried around everywhere in a front sling or backpack as we cooked and cleaned; hiking through the woods or walking on long warm stretches of beach; folding clothes under makeshift tents from bed sheets; saying thank you to the garbage man every week; playing and conducting classical music or singing and dancing to musicals; sitting on the floor with a pile of books reading and acting them out; gardening and swimming; driving around town or going for long bike rides around the lake… just the two of us. Countless memories and moments that only I can recall.
Kelbi does not remember me dancing with her as a baby and a toddler, scooped up in my arms, to the Andrews Sisters or the Village People or Bruce Springsteen. (I have eclectic taste in music.)
She does not remember us standing in front of the stereo cabinet masterfully conducting Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Spring concerto or napping to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
She does not remember us parking off the frontage road next to the airport, convertible top down, eating fruit and sandwiches in the car as we watched the planes, taking off or landing, fly right over our heads, thunderously vibrating every cell in our bodies.
She does not remember the morning I had to drop her off for the first time at her daycare – an excellent childcare center which I had researched and vetted for a year – and yet found myself unable to go to work because I could not stop crying after handing her to the Director of the daycare. (My first work day after maternity leave and I had to take a ‘personal’ day!)
She does not remember the baskets of cherry tomatoes we picked in our garden, which she stealthily pilfered every time I turned my back, cherry tomato juices dribbling out of the corners of her mouth and on to her clothes.
She probably, if only faintly, remembers me rocking with her while reading to her – every morning, every afternoon, and every night – from our vast collection of children’s books, but I never asked her if she remembered me dramatically acting out and reading to her from my eclectic collection of American, English, French, and Spanish 19th century poetry and plays, in all three languages. (Poor child.)
She does not remember watching Mary Poppins almost every day, as we sang, laughed, danced and twirled with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.
She does not recall our countless trips to the shore, and the lighthouse, collecting seashells and memories, building sandcastles and bonds that would last a lifetime.
She may no longer remember those precious moments between us, but I know I always will.
Martie Hevia (c) All Rights Reserved