It’s My Job to Remember

I wrote this post nearly two years ago and nothing has changed. I want to remember. I want to cling to so many precious moments. It’s not always easy to do, but I try my best and am grateful for my blog. Even if you don’t want to share your memories with others, it’s incredible how writing down stories about your family will take you right to that moment with such incredible clarity.

***

Our fingers interlock. His hand is small compared to mine, but not as small as I remember. I trace his face gently – touching his forehead, nose and chin. I remember how he used to love butterfly and Eskimo kisses. It was our thing. The ritual way we said goodbye, but not anymore. His breath is heavy and slow. He finally releases the long day and drifts into a deep slumber.

I watch my 7-year-old sleep with his hand in mine and I feel the pangs of time moving too fast. The pangs of regret and guilt when I think about how difficult our relationship is at times. He is my most affectionate and demonstrative child. He is the one who is always smiling and trying to get a laugh. He is the entertainer who craves attention. All attention, but especially mine. He is also the one who knows exactly which buttons to push and how to get a rise out of me. If only he understood how much more attention he already receives. I give my heart, but it never quite feels enough. I always have this deep-rooted feeling like I’m doing it all wrong when it comes to him.

I recall our earlier conversation and feel more pangs. The deep in the stomach kind. The clinching of my heart kind of pain. He spoke with such thoughtfulness and a surprising maturity beyond his years. We were sitting in the doctor’s office alone just waiting when he informed me that he only wanted to hold my hand at home because he got embarrassed in public. So I told him the story of his first day in preschool and how he didn’t want to let go of my hand and how he made me do our butterfly/Eskimo kiss ritual three times. He paused and looked at me and asked, “Why can’t I remember that? Why can’t I remember a lot of things from when I was little? And how come you can?”

With my heart in my throat and my soul on the floor I answered,”It’s my job to remember. I will always remember everything. I will remember every kiss and hug, even if you can’t.”

He smiled so sweetly and bright and asked if I could give him a butterfly kiss and Eskimo kiss again. My heart leapt and I gently brushed my eyelashes against his cheek and rubbed my nose against his nose. I will never forget that moment.

I will also never forget my realization that he is right. There are so many precious moments that do slip away from memory over time. The seemingly innocuous ones that you take for granted. I wish I could lock them all into a box and experience them again and again. I want to feel my babies sleeping soundly and perfectly on my chest. I want to smell their bald heads and breathe in their scent. I want to feel the tightness of their baby hands wrapping around my finger. I want to rock them on my shoulder and feel the heat of their breath on my neck.

It's My Job to Remember - even if my children can't. @tinystepsmommy

I promise to remember holding my sweet boy. Here he is at 6 months old.

I do feel it is my responsibility to remember and preserve these moments in time. The moments that are creating the foundation for who or what my children will one day become. It’s not always easy or possible though. I sometimes find that the memories of my four babies blend into one. I sometimes struggle to remember it all.

But, not this memory. Not this conversation. This one will always be about my sweet, loving boy. The master of pushing my buttons and stirring my frustrations who also knew exactly what was needed today as he slipped his hand in mine and drifted off to sleep, but not before whispering, “I love you to Pluto and back because the moon is just not far enough.”

 

About 

Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.

Comments

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Comments

  1. So sweet! I hope my little 3 year old remains a cuddle bug 🙂

  2. Nicole! I teared up. Wow. This is by far one of the best pieces of writing I have ever read. I have three children and I often feel guilty because I don’t have perfect recall of every moment with each of them, or I get them confused. My daughter has even corrected me once when I was telling my son a story and she said “hey, I thought that was Tyler not Jayden.” I felt terrible when my oldest asked at what age he started walking and I said 8 months. The other two asked me when they started and I just drew a blank! Could not remember to save my life. Had to ask my mom in hopes that her grandma memory would be on point. Lol.

    I have started a journal (which I wished I had done years ago) where I am documenting what I remember of each one. I am also going to start a picture book for the 10 yo and 5 yo. Digital photos didn’t come about until my oldest was about 3 so I have all his pictures in print but the other two are all on my computer and back-up drive. So, I am going to print them out and jot down all the memories that go along with the pictures. Hopefully that will help me preserve them better than trying to do it all in my head. 🙂

    GREAT post!

  3. So beautiful! I often have that feeling of wanting to freeze time. My son is now two, and sometimes I can’t believe he’s not a little baby anymore. What’s that saying about motherhood? The days often feel endless, but the years go by quickly.

  4. Absolutely beautiful. This post makes me tear up and realize all of the moments I have had like this. And all the moments I can’t remember… like you, blurred together in one. Thank God we have written about some of the best ones to hold on to! *LOVE this*
    Chris Carter recently posted…Teachers…They Are InvaluableMy Profile

  5. Love this so much. I have a horrible memory, so I try so hard to remember the best I can. It’s why I blog and take pictures, and keep journals of cute things they say. I don’t ever want to forget!
    Meredith recently posted…How to Keep An Indoor Orchid Alive For a Year Or MoreMy Profile

  6. So sweet! I have a terrible memory and i often this k about all the things I have forgotten. But, there are moments – precious moments – that I will never forget.
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted…Resolution Report CardMy Profile

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