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The memories we don’t really have

What’s your first memory?

I often think about what memories my son will retain from this time of his life. He has reached a point at which he is losing a lot of his early memories, and only retaining the important ones. It will be a long time still when he is able to determine what his “first” memory will be.

We look at our family pictures and tell our family stories, trying to solidify the memories that he does have. I know that these actions will also influence what he retains long term. But maybe that doesn’t matter: A lot of us are hanging onto first memories that aren’t real.

Part of me is saddened by this news, since we are made of our memories. But at second thought, it may make a lot of sense: Unless we had something really emotional happen to us when we were little that cemented our first memory, our first memories of childhood are a little fuzzy.

I know this is true for me: I have memories of our house in Michigan and my bedroom and the garden and the rooms in the house. But nothing really specific. I’m OK with that.

As parents, we retain our child’s memories. We have so many moments of their lives that we will remember forever, but they will never know about – the time they got sick and we held them all night; the first time they ever went down a big slide; the first card the ever made for us. That is one of the great things about being a parent – the memories we can hold onto forever.

What do you think your child’s first memory is? Tell me in the comments.

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