All the things I cannot remember

I don’t remember when my daughter rolled over for the first time, despite being so excited when she did it.

I have no idea when her third tooth came in, although I do know she had two teeth at three months of age.

I can’t remember how tall she was at two years old, or what size her feet were at three.

I don’t know what my son’s first word was, or exactly when it was he started to walk.

I don’t have a baby book, scrapbook or blog to remind me of their milestones and I didn’t keep the first lock of hair snipped from either of their sweet-smelling heads.

I have no idea what foods I fed them first, or what their favourite infant toys were.

IΒ don’t know when my son moved from a bucket seat to a rear-facing car seat.

I couldn’t tell you when my kids dropped their first nap, or their second, or how long they slept at three months of age.

I rarely print photos and no, my children won’t grow up to be jpegs, they’ll grow up to be adults.

I remember the baby giggles, and the smell of their skin. I remember their eyes and the way the sun glints off the strands of their hairs. I watch them play and try to commit to memory the love I feel for them. I imprint their hugs on my body.

I don’t have many pictures from when I was a baby, that’s not how things were really done back then, I guess. Digital photography has sort of demanded we document every waking moment of our lives whereas film dictated a measure of frugality.

I don’t have all my baby teeth in a glass jar for posterity, nor details of the minutiae of my development.

My baby books seemed to stop at about three, and honestly, I’m ok with that.

My parents didn’t keep notes on how I grew, I don’t have a collection of things to remind me of every vacation, every friendship, every heartbreak.

And all of that is ok.

What I do have, and what I hope my kids will have, too, is the overall knowledge that my childhood was a happy, safe, warm place filled with love and fun.

I don’t mind that nobody breastfed me, and I don’t particularly appreciate that I was cloth-diapered.

It doesn’t matter to me when I potty-trained or how my spelling was in grade two.

If we let the world tell us how to appropriately document these lives, we risk missing the joys we have in the moments. These small moments are filled with adoration, fleeting bits of life distilled into precious, undocumentable love, and sometimes it’s ok that they disappear like a will-o’-the-wisp because what’s left is the unshakeable assurance we are loved and give love.


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21 thoughts on “All the things I cannot remember

  1. I loved this πŸ™‚ I did a lot of pics of the imp when she was small…but then it tampered off. She’ll remember how the moments made her felt πŸ™‚

  2. This is perfect, and I can relate to so many of the “forgotten” things. I’ve often felt guilt about not doing baby books and keeping everything documented, but this post makes me feel so much better. You can’t document the love that your kids feel for you and vice versa, and that is the most important memory of all. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

    1. I was actually sitting around feeling guilty about these things, that’s why I wrote it all out. Made me feel a whole lot better to make the realization, ya know? Thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

  3. Love this post Alex! I barely remember anything either from my girls as ‘littles'(but it’s written in a book somewhere in a box in the basement), and have almost nothing from my own childhood! Just gotta live life and enjoy! Hopefully with minimal guilt! πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks, Christy! I came across a whole pile of photos of Story when she was 2… I even put them in an album yesterday. I’m spent. :p

  4. Thank you! THANK YOU!!! I don’t understand the documenting of every smile and haircut every other month. How can you forget your kids? And your children will remember everything that was important TO THEM. Each one of us remembers what shapes our lives. I don’t want to be remembered for my body. I cannot recall my grandmother’s face, but I will never forget her hands, or her kindness, or her love of corn syrup and her gift of red delicious apples and fondness for sharing her private stash of assorted chocolates with me.

  5. I mistakenly got into a potty training discussion this morning with a stranger. I could hear words falling out of my mouth signifying nothing. Not that this is your point! Lovely piece!

  6. I understand and appreciate this post a lot. I have always been made to feel guilty for not keeping baby or scrap books or for not printing off all of the photos I have. Heck, I don’t even have the ones I DO have printed framed. They’re all in boxes or drawers! Like you, I have memories and I like to see my children growing and that means more than anything.

  7. The pressure to document every moment is so overwhelming that it’s simply too much. Other than my blog that starts when DD was about 3years old, I don’t have anything really jotted down. As for photos… I lost the disc that has the pictures of my son when he was a baby. And baby books? I have the actual books, there’s just nothing in them yet. Fail? I don’t think so. Thanks for confirming this. xo

    1. I have a collection of baby books that are empty, too. I always think “one day”… then suddenly the kids are 6 and 3 and I’ve forgotten those things.

  8. Thank you. Thank you.

    Enjoy the moments for what they are – sometimes hard to remember, so thank you for the nudge.

  9. I’ve kept a few things, for the fun of it. But I haven’t documented every moment.

    I do think some of the fun in not documenting it all for them is letting them create their own memories and letting the things that are important to them carve a spot in their brains rather than things that were important to us. Although I don’t have a copy of it, I can still remember vaguely a project that I did in Grade 2 that meant a lot to me, I remember goofing off in the woods with my friends (when my parents were not around to document it), and so on.

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