We record important moments, in the moment. I don’t remember their every moment – but I could never forget the ones that made me laugh the most, or cry the most – like words on a page, snapshots in a brain-album …
Long before ‘screen capture’ technology created desktop snapshots, my head has held everything like a vault. I just can’t always ‘recall’. Everything before children is in the dusty back section, not recalled so often.
Everything since children arrived, is what I might label ‘fatherhood period’, like a fossil record epoch – buried, beneath so much overburden, ready to be dug-up when needed, recalled in moments of joy or pain … again and again.
There, all along, stored.
My instant recall of every …
So much, obviously, is not easily recalled. But it seems my most important memory moments that matter are kept. That’s my story and I’m sticking by it. Like hearing an old tune on the radio – five minutes before we couldn’t remember those lyrics, but once we hear that tune, we sing along. Needed it a trigger.
So, what is stored?
What is forgotten?
What is remembered when our memory is given a jolt, a trigger, a prompt – like hearing the old tune on the radio, do we suddenly burst into recitation of ‘I remember the day we ___________?’
Of course we remember.
How could we forget?
I remember when I took Krista to open her first bank account. Wide-eyed, seeing that vault, she wondered aloud, ‘why do they have the door open?’
Births, birthdays, trips, graduations, special moments – traumatic ones too, stay with us long after the issue of the day passes. Its importance, put in historical perspective, so much of life is like the empty space between parts of atoms – nothing there, but we couldn’t live without that space and nothing would exist in its known form without it. And like the empty space of having someone absent – and nothing I can do fixes that …
People need space, kids especially. What we did, what happened and how we felt is easily recalled. What we didn’t do well, what unfolded badly and what ‘cannot be undone’ – those memories stay with us too. Haunt us. Can’t change the past, can’t re-interpret for someone else.
To my children: happy fathers day, because without you I would have many fewer memories, my brain-vault would be empty, my heart would be bankrupt and I would be sad.
written / published from Calgary, AB
morning walk with Gusta: 10C/49F, overnight drizzling stopped, cloud and sky are mixed media … Gusta wet from soggy grass, streets quiet except for throngs of runners heading uphill and into to a strong north breeze …