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Because I can’t remember back that far

March 7, 2007

Memory is a tandem or collective effort. When you are too little or too busy or too disinterested in what is happening to you there are usually people around who may remember significant details that are lost or forgotten to you. I happen to be one of those people who has an incredible memory. It bugs some of my friends and at times makes them laugh (yes, I hear you laughing Tracyann who does not remember anything!) and I have a great sense of pride in my memory most of the time.

Letting go of the past and finding a way to forgive those experiences that pain me is really difficult when you can remember each blistering detail. I try to force my brain to let it slide but it is hard. I won’t say I hold a grudge because it is not really a conscious choice to not let it go. It all feels fresh and new and not yet granulated or covered with eschar. It always feels raw because it is fresh in my mind. I have grown an intolerance to people who either bullshit me or hurt me as I have gotten older and acquired children. I think it might be the mother in me that wants to protect them first from crap and evil so I am less likely to put up with it myself. I know that I appear like an outgoing confident person but inside I always feel ridiculous, too much, too loud, too–everything and it makes me embarrassed and assume most everyone hates me. NOW, don’t go saying , “OH, we love you…blahblahblah…” I know that many of you do. I feel it. I know it, but it is just that wiggly part of my brain that yanks me by the back of my eyeballs and makes me think of everything I say or do as  faux pax or incorrect and it stands in the way of plowing forward sometimes. It makes me stuck. My lack of tolerance to bullshit and my fear that I am actually an asshole –so who am I to say what is bullshit paralyzes me sometimes. Yes, I know I it does not sound terribly productive. Duh.

Sometimes my memory is a good thing because I remember things like going to the Ocean with Tracy (um, now Tracyann) and getting drunk and eating pizza pies and meeting boys and that time that she lied to her mom about where she was staying the night and didn’t tell me and I called the next morning and her mom said, well she should be right there with you. I was so mad I gave her the number to where Tracy was and BOY was Tracy mad at me. I was mad at her too because no one knew where she was and also mad at her parents because they were overprotective and that just makes kids lie to do what they want. At the time I was mad but I also thought it hysterical and I am glad that I can remember it. I remember in detail laying in the hospital while awaiting to have my Spawn and he rolled and hiccuped inside me and then the lonely empty feeling I had after they forced him out. That first night sleeping alone was very weird made weirder by the fact that he was not with me but in the NICU.  I remember holding my husbands hand on our first date, the movie, “A Night On Earth” and how sweaty we both were and that I knew he was it. The one. My love for life. I remember dancing in the kitchen with my Mom and using up my pictures on my roll and she flips her hair over her face, puts on her glasses and does her “cousin IT” imitation without any suggestions on what to do. I remember her looking at me and me looking at her on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard (who is Martha anyway???) knowing that my life was about to change as I floated away to be a bride. I remember the way her purse smelled. Like leather, Double Mint green pack gum, tobacco, asthma medicine and ink. She smelled like White Linen, smoke and Avon hand cream. I remember eating perfect fried eggs and Italian bread toast with my grandmother and then later learning to crochet making foot long chains over and over again. Eating slurpees with my grandfather when we went to the playground near my school that had the GIANT metal caterpillar and sitting on its antenna looking down the hill pretending I was on top of the world. Making pancakes with my Dad and walking in the woods listening to the birds, not talking and watching the clouds.

That is a nice long list and I could go on. My memory is long and deep and it comforts me, mostly. What worries me are the things I don’t remember or that no one has told me. My mother died and with her many secrets of my life because she is the only one that really knew me. Knew everything about me and saw the things I was too little or too busy to see for myself. She is the other side of the mirror to events in my life and now it is gone. I don’t have that reflection of moment where I am parenting or wifeing or whatever and she looks at me as if too say, “AHA!…remember that time…”.

I tell my son the story of the night he was born every year for his birth day because I remember my mother telling me mine. I felt  part of a bigger piece of life knowing that my life connected to her and sometimes feel lost because without her I just can’t remember back far enough.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2007 5:14 pm

    Loved this post, Cole. I have some of the same worries. Check out The Writer’s Almanac today — I think the poem of the day, “Parents” by William Meredith — will strike a chord.

  2. March 7, 2007 9:56 pm

    I tell my nieces and nephews their birth day story ever year too. Of course I tell them what it was I was doing when I got the call from my BIL but all the same it’s a tradition I’ve come to love.

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