A Sons Birthday and Baby Bottle Memories
Our firstborn son celebrated his 44th birthday with a business trip out of town. To top it off, he was sick with a flu that would not go away.
As hubby and I sat and worried about him, I reminisced about some of his funnier escapades form birth through 7 or 8 years old. Not that his antics stopped at 8, but he took more caution then.
We’d snuggle him into bed, fasten the bar tightly– only to have him peek around the door frame before we got back to the living room. Over and over and over again until he finally fell asleep.
Matt was our daredevil child. I think every family has one. Of our four children, he was the only one to climb out of his baby bed, fall out of his bunk bed (from the top bunk, of course, where he insisted he would be careful), break a collar bone, dislocate fingers, toes and ankles and require stitches at least once a year on some part of his body.
My mother insisted that I ask the doctor if Matt had soft bones. So while I was in the doctor’s office watching as he removed a brace from Matt’s collarbone and added a cast to his right hand, I asked the Doctor.
The doctor laughed heartily about that before he made me see what I already knew. He asked, “If any of your children would take a dare– Which kid would it be?”
I did not have to think twice about that one. It was Matt. I was nodding my head before his name came out, “Matt!”
Now you are probably wondering why I am telling you all this. Well, Matt and I were having a conversation about all of his antics one day and I was surprised how many he had already forgotten or never remembered in the first place. He remembered almost none of the cutest things he’d ever done before the age of Five.
I could hardly believe he did not remember throwing his baby bottle filled with milk and demanding a substitute with a single word, “TEA!” That baby loved sweet tea.
I thought about all those wonderful moments we had with all of our other children in those first few years of their life. Memories they would never know, remember or share. All those funny, happy and loving times are burned into our memory and held dear to our heart but completely forgotten by our now Adult children.
Then suddenly, I realized something more. It didn’t make me angry or sad or feel sorry for my children because they don’t remember those early years. It’s part of life.
I don’t urge them with, “Come on, Matt– You remember…don’t you?” I don’t scold him for forgetting nor encourage him to remember with prompts that would mean nothing to him.
How much do you remember before 5 years old, 10 years old– your teen age years?
Do you remember every single day of your life since birth. NO. And no one scolds or demands that you recollect those days, weeks, months or years. Simply, it is something you can not do.
Mostly, I wish I’d thought of this while I was caring for my Mother with dementia. I would never have said “You remember, don’t you, Mom?” I would never have made her feel bad or guilty or inadequate because she had forgotten a time that I still remembered.
At 75, with Alzheimer’s dementia Mom still had memories of me as a baby and often shared things I’d said or done as a child. She remembered faraway distant times in her memory, things lost to time many decades ago. Her father and his father, she remembered through the ages.
But Mom lost the “present” days of her life through no choice of her own.
I have those present recollections but have lost the long ago things of my own childhood, just as all my children have forgotten their infancy and early childhood. I had no memories of the days days we lived in Oregon, nor a bout with pneumonia when only two years old.
And as I walk down my Mother’s Road, as I know I will, I ask my children to be kind and remember these strange things of memory when I forget yesterday.