My husband and I got to talking last night about childhood memories.  It’s always been so frustrating for me that I can only remember specific incidents.  I keep a “Memories of Mom” journal and write down everything I remember in there.  I’m terrified that as I continue to get older, I will continue to forget more and more memories about her.

When I was little, we lived in San Antonio and used to go on day-trips all the time to Mexico.  I know this because I’ve been told by my aunt who lived with us.  I can remember only one time where my mother was driving our van on one such trip.  But, I do remember the countless pairs of maracas that I got from different trips, and all the Mexican style Barbie doll clothes I had.

I remember the family trip to Disney World when I was 5.  I remember going through the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean (which gave me a fear of water for life, but that’s another post).  The only memory I have of my mother during this trip is when she and my father went to Epcot Center, and my sister and I had to stay behind.

Try as I might, I can’t remember more.  All of my childhood memories are like this.

I used to sleep with my mother every night that my father was away.  He was in the army and would stay on base for days at a time.  I know I slept in her bed with her every single night, but I can only remember one time.

I asked my husband if it was the same way for him because it is thoroughly frustrating to want to remember all these things and not be able to.  He told me that it was because these specific events held some kind of higher importance to me than all the other memories.  I kept these ones special in my mind and I suppressed the rest of them.

This is my take on it:

A child doesn’t necessarily understand the importance of memories.  A child goes through life just “being”.  They don’t actively tell themselves that they need to remember these things.  There are, of course, memories that stay because of trauma or something significant happening.  There are also memories that get blocked out due to trauma.

Adults, in my opinion, know how important it is to remember.  At the end of the day, it’s all you have.  If I come across something that I really want to remember in the future, I analyze it and think about it for awhile until I think it has stuck.  It doesn’t always work, but I know my memories of my life as an adult are way more extensive than my memories of my childhood.

As I grew up and started losing more and more memories of my mother, I started getting scared and feeling depressed.  I have few pictures of her because she was always the one behind the camera.

I can’t forget her.  She was a gift to me, if only for a short time.


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