I have a terrible memory. I remember snippets from my childhood but not a lot. This is not because I had a bad childhood – it was totally fine and normal – I just have a bad memory. My wife, on the other hand, does not. She remembers a lot and from a young age. It was something I never thought about much beyond a way people are different. There are so many things you don’t consider until you have a three year old, right?
Gus remembers a lot. He will talk about things that happened a year ago. You can’t trick him with “maybe we will do that later” stuff because he will remember and bring it up constantly. We have gotten comments from his teachers about what he retains and talks about (hahaha, not bad, just that it is noteworthy to them) and have always thought he remembers a bit more than some.
Suddenly it occurred to me that he is now three. He turned three on 10/2. And people remember things from when they were three. Mostly people remember big things but they remember things and something in that really strikes a cord with me. Our kid, as we speak, is making memories.
There are times where this causes me immense guilt. He has been, uh, spirited lately. It’s been a lot. Last weekend was just fucking terrible. When we are not at our best is he making memories of that? Is this how he will think of his moms and his childhood? Logically, I know that a bad day does not make a bad life and that he’s fine but the memory aspect is really not great for mom guilt.
Other times this brings me a lot of joy. There are things we have put off doing because it doesn’t seem worth it and that is getting more fun. Train rides, aquarium visits, dance class. We threw a pool party for his birthday and he loved it in a way I don’t think he would have a year ago. He experiences things differently because they build on his memories and it’s cool to watch how that works.
As we move into holidays I am thinking a lot about what that means. As a small family living far from extended family it is important to me that we create good traditions. Holidays are spent just the three of us and I feel like this is the first year he will really start building memories of them. Lesley and I have things we have done for years so I don’t feel at a loss for what to do, I only feel excited about watching him experience it as a kid, not as a baby or toddler. It takes a time that is normally really lonely and sad for me and gives it a more positive spin.
Three has been rough so far, I am not going to lie. But there is such much wonder and joy, too.