The things we remember. The things we miss. When our kids were kids. Little boys. Little girls. The moments that hit us in the now. It feels like a slap in the face and a stop you in your tracks. The moments that bring instant tears to the eyes. Those moments. The ones you never get back. The ones that even now you remember plain as day. The ones that really provoke the big emotions and the big feelings.
Life is precious and life can be taken at any time. Time’s up. And there he goes. A friend of mine lost his son a few years back. It was a tragic accident. It was life altering. It was life forever changed. Forever memories are the only thing left. The ones. The kid memories. The ones that keep trying to fade but you won’t let them. Those kinds of memories.
I was talking to this friend a few weeks ago. We were just sitting and talking about things, life, jobs, people and kids. He said the thing he missed the most about his son, was when he was a little boy and would run through the house with his blanket cape. Running and looking behind, watching the flow of the cape. Watching the waves roll. The cape. The fun. The wonder of a small little boy. Watching him. Wondering what he would become. The life He had in store.
Those kinds of memories.
I have my own memories of my kids when they were little. There is one in particular that I think about and the emotions bubble right up to the surface. The tears just flow and I can’t help it and I don’t even know why. But, every single time I think of it, it happens. No rhyme. No reason. Just because. Maybe their innocence. Maybe the big cruel world to come. Maybe a big bright world to come. Maybe nothing.
John and I dropped off the boys to a movie and then came back later to pick them up. They both came running out of the theater and looked like they were getting along and having fun. They had big cheesy smiles and bright eyes. Then time slowed down. Way down. They had candy in their hands and were running towards us. They were close to each other. The little boy competition. Who will get to the pickup first. Then it happened. Their feet got tangled and one of them fell. The other looked up at me. I could see the fear in his eyes. The explanation in his eyes. His eyes telling me it was an accident. The eyes thinking he was going to get in trouble. It was an accident. We knew it was an accident. We knew he didn’t trip him on purpose. We knew.
The whole thing was less than 20 seconds, yet those memories have lasted the rest of my life. I don’t know what it is about it that just gets me. The scraped knees, the scraped hands, candy running like ants across the sidewalk or the eyes. All of it. Every detail. I remember that part like it was yesterday. I don’t remember what happened when they got in the vehicle. They didn’t get in trouble. They didn’t fight. That part of the memory is gone. So strange.
Powerful memories. I often wonder why or how we remember what we do. What is it about a certain memory that stands out. It makes me curious. It’s not like I told myself to remember this 20 years down the road. Sometimes I tell myself to remember a dream and one hour later I can’t remember it.
Life is funny. Memories are interesting. Some memories make it to the compartment in the brain that will never forget. Some get put in another compartment that may be accessible at a later date…or not. Some strike at random times. Some never strike.
The emotions and feelings tied to the memories may be why we can so easily remember those really, really important ones. Maybe that person is no longer here or maybe it was just a special day. Whatever the circumstance, the kid memories hit me the hardest.