write your memories in indelible ink! on acid-free paper!
July 20, 2011
tonight i read a few years’ worth of old posts from my livejournal, which was principally a place i shared lots of charming anecdotes about my kids. i also rediscovered that my ex and i had a family blog for six months or so. it was interesting reading all these old stories and looking at old pictures, remembering keenly those earlier years of our family. seeing rio’s cute chubby 5 year old body and robin’s tiny baby self… reading about the hilarious and sweet and shocking things a younger rio said…
when he was five, i wrote: “The other night I bumped him against something while carrying him to bed (he gets dramatically tired at night), and he said, “You hurt me!” I said, “That was the furthest thing from my desire…” He leaned back and said, “Not mine. The furthest thing from my desire is getting out of control in space without a space ship.””
he once spent twenty minutes crafting the opening sentence of his first book, the Misunderstood Bear, “Once there was a bear that lived in the forest and he was misunderstood because he jumped from trees instead of for fish…”
After a visit from his grandparents as his grampa was nearing death, “The night they left, Rio was musing on how “if a person walked in a box shape, they could just continue walking forever over the same path, although that might get boring, even if the box connected to another box… And if they did just keep walking, eventually they would grow weak and die, like grandpa.”
I asked him how he felt about grandpa dying, what he thought he would do when it happened, and he said, “I’ll just get a lot of children and style their hair exactly like mine. And get them more sun if their skin wasn’t as dark as mine.”
what a problem solver! i miss that time, when he was so free with his thoughts and concerns, his plans… his cuddles. he is now 9 and a good bit more guarded. most likely a lot of that is a natural stage he is going through, but i sometimes reflect on the break up of my relationship with his other parent and tears come to my eyes, wondering if i could have handled it better and somehow saved him some measure of pain., obviously not by staying in what was a doomed and hurtful situation, but by some magic sleight of hand or understanding glance or simple caress or listening ear at the right moment…
but regret and nostalgia aren’t the only things i get from these old incarnations of myself and my family… they remindsme to save what memories i can, that the me i am when my oldest is 12, or 20, or 60, will be glad of these recollections i put now in my paper journal or here on my blog. i need to preserve the ones on my livejournal, hundreds of stories my children weren’t old enough to inscribe in their own memories… i don’t remember a lot of them until i read them. it all comes flowing back so easily then and i am almost there…
i want hours to spend transcribing them into books, pasting in the pictures i haven’t yet printed from way back then… i don’t want to let go of those times. i guess the nostalgia and regret does run a little high here.
my children melt my heart, turn it into flaming, glowing, carbon plasma on a daily basis. and they did then, too. they get hurt. they experience empathy. they hurt others. they make things better, or, sometimes, worse, and either way we try to talk about it. they receive love and soak it up completely, release what we used to call “bursts of love” for all and sundry as often as they feel the calling. i am so glad to get to spend so much time around them, living with them and sharing our interests, passions, and wonderings.
A last story from when Rio was four:
“Ricky was singing Rio to bed tonight, and he was singing that lullabye that’s all “lullabye and goodnight, you are papa’s delight…” which is one he doesn’t usually sing, whereas I do, although only if Rio asks me to make it be about him being a specific animal (with new lyrics added each time through!;). Anyway, Rio said he didn’t like the “papa” being in there, because the “puh” sound wasn’t very relaxing. Ricky offered to say “mama” instead, and Rio rolled over and whispered, “because I *am* her delight.”
And he is.”