My last post was about my oldest child’s 1st memories and how (pleasantly) surprised I was at what stood out in her mind from her younger days. After her special treat of staying up late with just Mommy and Daddy, her ten year old brother wanted a turn too. So, last night, he had his “stay up late” night. We talked about other things for a while, but then I posed the same question to him as I had to his sister. “What is your earliest memory?” I asked. His answer? The time a lost puppy dog found its way to our backyard. He and I sat by the window watching the confused pup for a while wondering what to do when finally, all on its own, the dog re-discovered the hole in the fence that had facilitated its coming and it left. At most, this took 5-10 minutes but it was the closest we ever came (or ever will come) to having a dog. My son was probably not even 3 years old at the time but he remembers watching the little dog wander our backyard. He remembers going to the neighbor’s house afterward to borrow some dog food just in case the dog came back.
Like his sister he remembered an ordinary day at home with Mommy. He did not remember his little sister’s birth when he was 1 ½ years old or his little brother’s birth two years later. Going on long car trips to visit his grandparents and cousins in St. Louis did not come to mind. Instead he remembers a regular day when something, a very little something, special and unusual happened.
We have had so many significant moments in our life, so many life changing events, but it is really the little things that just happen in our everyday moments that make life something special.
Incidentally, I was curious so I asked my 6 and 8 year old’s the question this morning. Their answers were just as surprising, but only because they were so different than the older two. My 6 year old son said, watching his dad, brother and sister canoeing down a little stream while camping at Disney World. My 8 year old daughter said, a surprise weekend at a resort with friends. It is quite ironic to me that they would remember the big exciting moments we had saved and prepared for, while their siblings remember such mundane things. Maybe it is because the younger children have had so many fewer vacations and trips, so they mean so much more to them. Whatever the reason, I guess it is good to have a balance in life. Those rare excursions to fun, exciting places are worth saving up for and enjoying when you can, but real life at home is just as important and special. As for the little one’s 1st memories-- I am pretty sure if she could truly understand the question, her answer would be the time she got a bug on her arm at Wal-Mart. It happened a few months ago but she still tells us quite often, “bug, arm” and points out the spot where he was.