“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.” ― Edgar Allan Poe
Being mindfully in the present means that I pay better attention to the life we’re living. It also means that every time you say something clever or profound, I don’t go rushing to my laptop to share every teeny detail on a blog post. Lately, Facebook and Instagram have been my detail capture-ers.
Here’s the other thing: my medication has affected my short-term memory. I used to be an elephant. An elephant with divinely appointed superpowers. I observed, catalogued and remembered details that no human nor pachyderm had any business recalling.
My certain memory made me a fierce arguer, made me resentful of those with blurrier memories, and only worsened my chronic perfectionism. It also came in handy when it was time to locate that missing object or other.
This is not to say that my memory was perfect. I just could trust it more confidently.
At first—when I couldn’t even remember what dosage of medication my doctor just told me to take, when I would forget appointments or entire conversations with your Daddy—I felt angry. I felt like a diluted version of myself. I felt like I had lost my super powers. (I think, having been diagnosed as bipolar this is likely a good thing. No attempting to fly off rooftops for me.)
Then, in conjunction with learning to accept my feelings and the present moment, I came to accept that sometimes I simply can’t remember stuff. That I am not, in fact, a superhuman. Just a regular ol’ human.That I am not perfect. Nor do I need to be.
I also feel a little bit like Dory from Finding Nemo. Or, not jokingly, when I can’t recall something really important, like I have early onset Alzheimer’s.
Yet it remains, that you girls say and do things that I fully appreciate, delight and relish in—in the moment. But, I’m left with no recollection to share with your Daddy, to document here or, more importantly, to call to memory when I need a smile, a laugh, something bright to hold onto in the dark.
So, I’ve been trying to take better notes with an actual pen and paper. Because, apparently, my brain isn’t taking notes for me anymore.
Not only dates and appointments and lists, but also moments.
If you’ll allow me to share, this week, I wrote down three things that made me smile, made life worth living, made me proud of the little humans you are becoming.
1. Out of nowhere, while just Bel and I were driving back from your four-year-old checkup (the first of which I forgot, this being the re-scheduled appointment), Bel declared, “Mommy, I want to be an engineer!”
“That sounds great to me! You will make a great engineer...” I said before you cut me off.
“I know, I know, I know. Because I like to see how things work,” you said, nearly rolling your eyes, with an assurance and annoyance that I’m not sure how to explain—like you were born knowing this fact about yourself and that it’s so Last Year, Mommy. Could also be that you’ve heard the word “engineer” spoken alongside your name by the adults who have noticed your curiosity and problem-solving abilities.
Nevertheless, to hear my four year old proclaim that she wants to be an engineer, rather than, say, a princess or Dora the Explorer, is music to my ears. Whether you become an engineer or not is up to you, but I’m glad you have the vocabulary, the certainty and even just an inkling of all the possibilities the world holds for you.
2. I am amazed by Danjo’s interpersonal intelligence. While Bel is truly my engineer and likes to get up close and personal with mechanical or otherwise constructed things, Danjo seems to have been born, like her Daddy, fully aware of the mechanics of being a human.
We were leaving the park and we walked past a family speaking Spanish, which I understood. They were urging their older son, of about eight years old, to follow them towards the playground. He stood, unmoved. He didn’t look blatantly angry. His arms weren’t crossed. He wasn’t yelling. But, Danjo picked up on his subtle body language. (Unless, of course, she does understand Spanish!)
You told me as we passed, “He’s a mad at he Mommy.”
Without hesitation you continued, “He no want-a go ta the playgroun. He mad at he Mommy.”
You have amazing interpersonal intelligence and it will serve you well.
3. I told Bel that we needed to put our Valentine’s in envelopes and bring them to the Post Office. Forgetting to explain the crucial step of addressing the envelopes, Bel told me that when we got to the Post Office, I would have to tell the “Post Officer” where each envelope was supposed to go.
I clarified that we’d write down the addresses for the Post Officers to read and deliver, but I enjoyed a chuckle, thinking about my Auntie Lina and other “Post Officers” who serve and protect our mail.
I suppose more important than recalling every detail of every memory is holding in my heart the way you make me feel, day by day, moment by moment. You fill me with pride and joy in small moments and big moments, in grand gestures and tiny whispers, in all that I recall and in all that I forget.
I love you no matter what,
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