Remembering the things that I'm forgetting.

You know how they say you forget the pain of labor and childbirth?

I didn't. 

I had two incredible birth experiences. I breathed through the rushes. My midwife massaged my back. I threw up on my ex-husband. I sucked on the most delicious ice cubes. I swore like a mother when the back labor kicked in and silently thanked my midwife for approving every single expletive.

I remember it ALL.

It may have helped that shortly after each birth I wrote down the details. But I've only re-read them each once or twice. What I think is the likelier reason for remembering them so vividly is that they were each a very precise, one-time occurrence. Not like a song that you hear over and over everyday in the car on your way to work, not like macaroni and cheese night that you have every Thursday. But like watching a full-length rock opera, live on stage, or having roasted rattlesnake for dinner. Those things will leave an impression.

What saddens me are the memories that were more akin to macaroni and cheese. Delicious, yes. But not unique. Not profound in the way that birth was. These memories are slipping, or gone, or maybe they never even existed at all.

They're a blur.

I changed a lot of diapers. But I don't remember any of the specific diaper changes (except for a few cloth diaper blow-outs -- clearly before I switched to gDiapers).

I took my babies to the grocery store with me. The only grocery trip I recall specifically was in fact not a grocery trip at all, but when River made his 2 day old debut to my co-workers at Trader Joe's.

I wore my babies. All the time. But unless I see myself in a picture with Maggie on my back or River nestled against my chest, it's like it didn't even happen. Except for knowing that it did.

I woke a lot during the night. For nursing. For changes. The sleep deprivation was so hard at the time, but I cannot recall one specific memory that had me up at odd hours, rocking baby.

I buckled my babies in to their carseats so many times it became like Tetris. You know, how then you start to see floating tetris blocks everywhere on the horizon and you try to float them down and spin them so they'll fit between the trees or the buildings. It's a thing. But I can't tell you a particular memory about that action I did multiple times a day for multiple years.

I know these thing happened because I did them. But not because I remember them. It's a peculiar phenomenon that has me aching to recall the rhythmic day to days of having and caring for a baby. Aching to recall, mind you, not aching to do them all over again.

While the haze of recollection is melancholic, it has brought to my attention that there are things happening around me that I don't want to lose a grip on. The closeness of helping River with his homework. The countless hours of drawing Rapunzel with sidewalk chalk in the driveway. The fierce urge to fly through the grocery store because the kids are driving me batty. The songs we sing at bedtime. The books we read together each night. None of these have the roasted rattlesnake or rock opera effect. They're not bold. They're not 4 hours of labor and 20 minutes of pushing. They're not a toddler poop-filled bathing suit on an otherwise nice evening in the woods.

They're a pulse. A heartbeat. And they're what make me tick more than anything.




Comments

Mary Brady said…
This was really good for me to read today. Thank you. :)
Lei said…
Whoever says they forget it is probably fudging a little.

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