Do you ever relate things in your kids’ lives to points in you life? I sit and think and crunch numbers all the time: I’m 30…she’s 5, was I really 25 when I had her? Only 3 years alder than my little brother is now? Only two years younger than my mom was when I was 5 which means she was not so much older when I was 10…and it makes so much of childhood and teenage angst feel more human from a parental perspective.
5 years of her life and in that time frame, we’ve moved across the country, she’s lived in 4 places, we’ve given her a little brother and she’ll never remember a time in her life without him, we bought our first house, watched her go to school, learn numbers and colors and letters and vocabulary and emotions – oh, the emotions! A million outfits pieced together and discarded for another over the course of a day, a trail of shoes she’s worn could probably span a mile. I sit and sip coffee and think – in another 5 years, she’ll be in 5th grade. 10. Another house, another sibling, I hope, we hope?
Almost past the things that shaped her early childhood and into the school years, I think about what we’ve given her and what she’ll remember. Has it been enough? Please God, let it be enough, I pray. I squeeze my eyes shut and blink back the tears.
I don’t remember clear memories of 5 – most of my clear memories don’t start until a few years later. What will she remember? Our morning breakfasts in the backyard and picnics and the park and her treasured sleepovers with grandparents? Big excursions or little stuff like the tiny little make-shift playroom that they will never realize is literally smaller than many closets in America. Will she remember more by association because of the photos I’ve taken? Will she have those hazy memories when she grows up, like I do, where she can see a place in her mind but can’t figure out where she was? Will she call me or a sister or brother to ask us about it, to see if we can tell her if it’s a real memory or something from a dream she remembers?
It all seems so real sometimes. Dear God, I hope and pray and squeeze the ever-loving-sweetness of them tightly in a hug and pray that it’s all enough.