One of the things my kids love best is to ask me stories about when they were babies. Which in my mind is NOW (because they are always my babies), but they mean real little babies, so, HA. I tell them about the first second I held her, how her nose was slightly crooked and she had straight, dark hair. I say how he was the most snuggly little boy ever, and how he loved to be in my arms or lap, always. How her first word was “more”, learned while I was teaching her the sign for “more” (because baby sign language is a THING, people), and she bi-passed it and just said it out loud. She’s always been a little feisty and ready for more, come to think of it.
Which got me thinking.
About how us mamas are really the memory keepers of our children’s lives. I may not remember all the little bits, or have updated their baby books past year one, but the feelings are there. All five of my senses that have taken in the moments and held them in a memory box held only in my mind. I hold the pieces of their lives in my heart, and having that knowledge is my favorite. The first flutter of a kick (felt in my night class while getting my Master’s degree), the exact look of my son as the doctor lifted him up and put him on my belly, the smell of their little baby heads, the moment my daughter’s hair started to curl (at nine months old, a little wave above her forehead that foretold a riot of curls to come.) Some things are so crystal clear for me, and often I think that when I am no longer here that these memories may not exist anymore.
I think about the fact that I am no longer a child, but pieces of me are still at home with my mom. Yearbooks, photos, clippings from newspapers, my bridal bouquet, and notes from friends. My life may seem rooted in being a mother to my children, but I know it is the same for my mom and dad as it is for me. Our lives are held in the hearts of those that have loved us. And I think for moms especially, we become the keepers of all the memories. The ones that will always remember the second we held our child in our arms, heard them laugh for the first time, or watched their faces as we dropped them off for the first day of school.
I’m proud of the wealth of moments I hold in my head, and share it whenever I can when they ask for all the tiny details that make up their life. Maybe by sharing I can show a tiny sliver of how much raising them and being their mom has made my life. I’m proud to be their memory keeper.