Fond memories endure the test of time. They may be triggered by an action, seeing a photo or a certain fragrance. Sometimes they are embellished over the years because the story has been recounted many times and the brain seeks to add new details or enhance the precious moment. As we grow older we need these memories to offset the ones that are held onto but locked away.
Childhood is where the best memories are made. Carefree times that we recall with fondness for the rest of our years. Most adults will be able to identify special occasions, events or milestones from when they were around 5 years and up. Some even have recollections from a younger age.
Just 3 frequently has me in stitches or ready to ring his neck when he says, ‘I can’t member.’ This is normally the answer given when asked where his shoes are, did he put his toys away or when he saw something last. Of course this is generally accompanied with the ‘I don’t know’ shrug with palms facing upwards. Yes, the sky will drop that little titbit you should have remembered into your wee brain.
Sometimes I think about the fact that in the future Just 3 will remember nothing about the past three years. This gives me some solace when I think about the times that I have had a moment I’d like to forget. Almost 6 is in the process of making concrete memories for life. I know he’ll see me at my worst at times but I plan on helping them both make lifelong memories they’ll cherish.
A treasured memory I still have of my own childhood was spending Sunday afternoons down at the ducks. There was a creek right next to our house that fed into a lake with a fountain. We’d walk alongside the creek then feed the ducks and geese that lived at the lake along with your token local birdlife who knew a good thing when they were onto it. We’d take the crusts from the loaves of bread we’d used during the week and feed our feathered friends. If Mum or Dad allowed, we’d be given extra time to look for tadpoles at the edge of the creek on the way back. Sometimes we returned empty handed, often with an old jam jar with tadpoles inside. When our catch turned into frogs my sister and I would return them to their home. Many a Summer featured frogs in our backyard pool who had migrated from the creek.
Being school holidays here at the moment the kids and I are all home together. No school for Almost 6 and no teaching for me. So last week I thought would be a good opportunity to share some of my childhood memories with my boys. Instead of telling them an ‘I remember when I was your age’ story I thought we could recreate my memory to pass onto them by doing it together.
We live about 15 minutes from where I grew up and the boys have fed the ducks many times. Last week we took a picnic lunch and then the boys played on the playground. As we walked the length of the creek back past the home I lived in from 2 years old to 19, I chatted with the boys about things I used to do down here.
As I played back the reel in my mind I also uncovered memories that I had forgotten about. Walking in my own footsteps, now as an adult, enabled me to recall friends I had, boys I’d kissed and long, lazy, carefree days spent here. Coming home with wet shoes, getting home late and being ‘told off’ and near drenched from head to toe on probably more than one occasion.
The day with my boys afforded me to chance to reflect with a smile. I shook my head and smirked at Almost 6 when he slipped, went down on his bum and got wet up to his knees. I sternly repeated a warning to Just 3 not to go too close to the edge. We squatted and looked, we searched and we prodded. All three of us held hands when we crossed the road and we dangled our legs off the bridge, swinging them back and forth.
Almost everything was the same as it had once been. The willow trees brushed the ground to leave arcs of exposed soil. The distant sound of traffic no match for the wildlife. And I saw the me I used to be. The bridge was smaller, the walk not as long and the ducks not as many. But to my boys it was just like it was for me as a kid. I lived and loved through their eyes that day.
My one hope is that we made a memory they will hold dear. We might need to do it again to just to make sure it’s firmly implanted for a lifetime. The plan is to go at the start of Summer. We might even catch some tadpoles next time.
What is the fondest memory you can recall from your childhood?
Love and cherish remaking memories.