I have spent a considerable amount of time wondering what my kids will remember about their childhood. Will they remember the thousands of times I read Sandra Boynton books to them? (I believe, after a long decade of Moo Baa La La La, that three singing pigs should be saying La La La.) Will they remember the end of summer extravaganzas? The Shabbat afternoons of board game after board game? Or will they remember searching through the laundry for the gym shirt that I forgot to wash? My inability to sit in traffic? My impatience with learning the 8 times table?
Probably a bit of it all.
My sister and I, though only two years apart, have two totally different takes on what went down in our formative years. (I feel the need to stop my blog here to reassure my parents that we’re all fine, they did a great job, and there is no need to phone.) Our memory of discipline, curfews and parental involvement is vastly different from one another. And my brother? It was like he had different parents all together.
But memory is a funny thing. Most psychologists believe that we take very little with us from early childhood and that memories begin to form from the age of five or six. And, it is selective memory at best. We don’t get to control what our kids remember.
I guess that, as parents, this is why we feel the need to snap so many pictures and take so many videos, and keep all kinds of other mementos from our children’s younger year (school projects, mother’s day gifts and the like) – we want to create memory for our kids – and for ourselves. Friends of mine were sitting shiva for a parent last week, and I was fascinated by the beauty of shiva and the kindness of memory. I will be the first to admit that I don’t always understand the motivation behind all of Jewish law, but shiva, I get. The idea that at a time of great sorrow, you are given the opportunity to return to memory as a comfort and are surrounded by people with their own memories is truly a blessing.
For now, I’ll keep on snapping pictures and working on my multiplication tables.