For Both of Us

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

I wish it weren't so, and I really hate to admit it, but sometimes I get really frustrated at Bert and snap at him. You read that right. I get frustrated with a 14-month-old who can't speak a word of English, and I snap at him. It makes me feel really terrible, and I always feel so guilty. 

The only thing that comforts me is knowing that he's so young he won't remember it, and that gives me hope that I have a little more time to develop better coping strategies so I won't be a snapping, yelling mom. 

I was thinking about that the other day, about how Bert won't remember me snapping at him because he's too young. And while, as I said, that does bring me a little comfort, the fact is that the opposite is also true: he won't remember the good times either. 

Think about it: when is your earliest memory? Mine is from the time I was three or four years old, but I lived a small lifetime before that, and I mostly lived it with my mom. She has told me things about our first few years together, but the truth is, I remember none of it. Not one single thing. And Bert won't either. I won't lie -- thinking about that, writing about it right now, makes me cry. Bert won't remember the hours and hours we spent reading, the trips to the library, spitting plastic shapes out of my mouth to make him laugh, the songs we sang, or the dancing we did. He won't remember a single minute of it. I can only pray that his body will retain the feelings of it all, the love and the peace and the comfort behind it. But the specifics I know he won't remember. 

So I have to remember for both of us. 

This part of my life, this huge part of my life, having my first child, becoming a mother, the time I spent that was split 50/50 with another person all day every day -- it will be remembered by only one of us. 

So often -- SO OFTEN -- I just let the time pass, not really giving it much thought, sometimes even wishing the day would speed up. But time has already moved so quickly, and there is so much I've already forgotten. When I think back to this time last year and what Bert and my days looked like, I am overcome with how quickly that all went away, although at the time it felt like it went on forever. But I realize now my responsibility is even greater than I thought. Because although this time is completely shared between Bert and me, it is only my memory that will hold the pieces. All of the readings of Robert the Rose Horse, rolling the basketball back and forth, building towers for him to knock over, the songs that his red plastic car sings ... they are already floating away from Bert's memory to a place he won't be able to find them again because these first few years are such a small part of his life. So I have to grab all the pieces I can and store them away in a place where I can bring them out in the future and remind him about our life together. 

I have to remember for both of us. 

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