When You Were Young

you and me
You and me, Baby.

When my mom was visiting over the holidays, I asked her if she remembered me when I was three, my daughter's age. She said, bits and pieces. A memory here and there. You liked such and such, I think. You were like this, or maybe like that.

"What was my first word? Did I have a favorite toy? Did I talk as much as Ella?" 

"I don't really remember."

It scared me. I have trouble remembering my own childhood, but I've been living under the delusion that I would remember my daughter's, my son's. Always. How could I forget? He babbles a lot with such a knowing look, you wonder if he'd be offended if you told him you don't speak his language. She likes Adele; no, loves Adele, and has a habit of breaking out into song when she's busy doing something. He sucks his thumb. She pretends she's a koala and balances while holding on to my leg when she wants me to stop working at my desk. He likes to hold my hand when he sleeps. She moves her hands when she's nervous or embarrassed. 

And yet, while showing E's baby videos to my parents, I found there are pieces of her I have already misplaced. I'd forgotten she used to be scared of bubbles, and whether she, too, loved to grasp my hands. 

I always thought photos or even videos would suffice. A childhood captured and catalogued. But, even in videos, back stories are lost; a picture paints a thousand words, but if they are the wrong words, the photo is but a pretty picture, not a memory. 

I wanted to make a list of all the things I want to remember about my kids. But where do I begin? I want to remember everything. 

Thursday, she came home from nursery school and jumped on top of me on the bed. I held her face in my hands and pulled it closed, but I couldn't find the baby I had cradled three years ago. "You've grown up, bunny. Where's the baby you used to be?" I said.

"Let me photograph you in this light..."

I'm still your baby." She smiled and kissed me. " Are those happy tears, Mommy?" 

"Yes," I lied.