One thing about authoring this blog is that it needs to be understood that this is the Girl’s life as seen through my eyes, as her dad. I’ve mapped all of that out in the about section, of course.
Ever since she was born, I have been aware that even if I record a memory in some way that I find particularly striking or important into a blog post or photo, or video, there is obviously going to be a gap between that importance, and the importance where she is concerned. There will be recollections and memory stills in her life that only she will really be able to hold onto. She is the one that will have really lived it, so those are the ones that will really count for her. They will mean more to her to than anything I, or anyone else, will be able to gather up for her.
I have memories of my own like that. Some of those memories very obviously memorable, like getting ready for my first day at school, or scoring my first goal in league soccer, or seeing my Dad’s electric guitar and hearing him play it for the first time.
But, I remember other things too. Some of those memories, when written down, have no business actually being memorable. Yet, those little moments are equally precious to me.
I remember picking and eating sun-warmed raspberries in Aunt Marge’s backyard. I remember staring out of the window and looking down into King Street in Toronto when I went to work with my Dad one weekend, smelling the bus fumes rising up to meet my nose, and falling in love with the city anyway. I remember sunbathing with my cousin Phil on the dock at the cottage while an Andy Gibb song was playing on the A.M Radio, and I remember getting an almighty sunburn on the back of my legs afterwards.
No one captured these for posterity, other than my own mind. That’s just the nature of memory, I think. You never know which ones are going to stick. They are the mysterious threads that make up the fabric of our lives.
In the Girl’s case, I often wonder which memories will take hold for her. Will it be the time I carried her on my shoulders through the streets of Vancouver during the winter Olympics, with crowds of jubilant people in the streets and zip-liners streaking by over our heads? That would be a good one, right? What about her first karate grading, her first ballet performance, or her memories of the first day of kindergarten, or grade one?
But, it may be none of those. Perhaps it will be all of them. Nothing can contain what life means to us, years later as we look back on it. And no one can tell what the shape of it will be in either direction. That’s a part of what makes it exciting, and terrifying.
She too will have tiny, and on paper seemingly insignificant memories that will leap to her mind, that she will recall with fondness, embarrassment, humour, or melancholy, for the rest of her life. They are the real treasures of life, the things that make us who we are, even as situations, points of view, and physical appearances change.
One thing I hope to be able to do when she gets older is to tell her is that I understand how much some silly little memory of hers might mean to her, no matter what it is. Because there are times when I think that the recollections we have of our past choose us, and not the other way around. They define us, and they ignite our imaginations. Perhaps too, they remind us that life is more than schedules, curricula, socially accepted milestones, and obligations.
Sometimes, life is just wonderfully random as much as it is fearfully so.