H is two and three quarters, and already we’ve done so much together. She’s seen Peppa Pig, The Tiger Who Came To Tea and just last weekend The Wiggles (on Saturday AND Sunday) and I often get worried she’s not going to remember any of these lovely things we’ve done. Then I had a moment of clarity – my earliest memories are from when I was around three to three and a half – probably around the time my sister was born so I assumed it would be a similar age for H. I’m not sure what my memories are – Christmases with a purple plastic tea set, in the back garden swinging around a pole and stinging my hand on a bee maybe, or just sitting in the paddling pool and playing.
It was only after chatting to a workmate today, I realised that you don’t even have to have your own memories and you end up adopting them as yours when you’re young. She has three daughters and a son, and her youngest daughter will swear blind something happened to her, just to have her older sisters correct her, as actually it happened to them. She’ll swear blind that they’re wrong, her sisters will say otherwise, but it’s only because the story has been told so many times that eventually it blurs from someone else’s reality into your own and you end up thinking it was you.
This made me think. I remember back in the early seventies a few times a year as a treat we’d get out our slide projector and have a slide show – looking at hundreds of old pictures of our lives, the memories becoming a little bit clearer and more of a reality than they were; forgotten trips to places you only met in dreams (that’ll be that weird circular drain at Ladybower Reservoir near Glossop there then), birthday parties with friends you forgot you’d known that long and so on. That was my past, my memories – all contained and hidden away until the next time they came out, repeated enough that eventually something comes back into your memory.
That made me realise. As long as I let H see things we’ve done, there’s absolutely no reason why she’ll forget anything. I’m glad I’ve got photos of some of the great things we’ve done. I can show her photos of The Wiggles and she’ll remember parts of it, even if she doesn’t remember the songs they played. This is the digital age – back then you’d take one or two photos of an event or scene. These days you can take ten of the same thing, knowing one photo might be the one you want. There’s such a huge record of those two and three quarter years of her life that actually, none of us will forget some of the places she’s been to.
I’m glad. There’ll be no adopted memories around here, I suspect.
This does mean I’m doomed with my theory that she won’t remember any of her birthday parties though. Argh.