Last week we were talking at dinner about our last family vacation, a trip to Aruba last December. Julian was only about 18 months old at the time and I figured he wouldn't remember anything about it. Wrong. Thad asked him what his favorite part of the trip was and Julian paused, tapped his chin (just like Wallace from "Wallace and Gromit") whilst looking up, took a deep breath and said, "Playing in the pool." I was astonished. He remembered?! Really?!!! Wow. He also remembered spinning him around in the water, going to the beach and playing in the sand. I know that toddlers don't forget anything- like a few days ago when Thad told Julian that we would get him a nutcracker next time we went to Target (he's very excited about Christmas decorations) and today when we went to pick up shampoo for grandma, he reminded me of daddy's promise. (The miniature nutcracker is currently sitting on our dining table...we named it Heir Friedrich)- but I didn't think he'd remember a trip almost a year ago.
This little exchange got me thinking about my earliest memories. When Thad and I first started dating I used to tease him about how much he did not remember about his childhood. With all those regular saturday night dates I wanted lots of stories, right? Thad claims to have very, very little memory about life before age 15. I, on the other hand, have memories back to when I was about 3. My brother may claim that some of this did not happen, but memories are memories and these are some of mine.
-Age 3. Getting off a bus/tram at the wrong spot with my father. We were in Italy or France, not sure. My mom and brother were still on the bus and I was convinced we'd never, ever see them again. Obviously, we did as we walked and were reunited with them at the next stop.
-Age 5. Laying on a towel on the sidewalk in my swimsuit. We lived in Monterey, CA and I was convinced the song "California Girls" by the Beach Boys was written for me. I'd prop my little pink umbrella up next to me and pretend to be at the beach. (I was very sad to move away from CA and could no longer consider myself a 'california girl.' 'Philadelphia girl' didn't have the same ring to it).
-Age 3. Wearing my blue leotard while watching "The Wizard of Oz" for the umpteenth time while my mom is making dinner. The house smells of garlic and onion, two of my most favorite smells of all time.
-Age 3. Collecting HUGE hail during a storm in Charleston, SC and bringing it inside to keep it for my father to show him when he came home from sea duty. I cried when the hail melted and wouldn't be able to show it to him.
-Age 5. My brother brought home the class pet from La Mesa Elementary School and the rabbit pooped by the wall and my brother said it was me that pooped. He claims to this day that it was me. I protest. It was the rabbit and I stand by that. (I did, however, pee on the stairs in that house one night when I was sleep walking).
-Age 6. My dad played in his class softball team at the Naval Postgraduate School and my brother and I would go to his games. This specific day my brother was swinging one of the bats and I happened to be standing behind him and he thwacked me in the nose so hard it bled.
-Age 9. Me, my mom, my brother, my dad, my aunt, my uncle, my three cousins, my two grand-aunts, my other cousin, and I think another aunt was in there too all drove up to Niagara Falls in a Suburban, starting our journey from Norfolk, VA. We get up there and one of my cousins, a Filipino citizen, forgot his passport so we couldn't go to the Canadian side of the Falls. We drove all the way there and waved at Canada. My cousins and I made a song up about our trip to the tune of Milli Vanilli's "Blame it on the Rain" and called it "Blame it on Manny." Manny is my cousin. I still haven't been to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
I think this blog post could go on and on now that my cerebrum and temporal lobes have been ignited. Suffice it to say that I am glad to remember all these things of my childhood, no matter how erroneous. I only hope that Julian and Dash can remember a lot, too. Or maybe I should start giving them ginko biloba.
Before I end this post, I'd like to say this: I remember when I was growing up and my mother would lay on the couch while I played and said, "I'm not napping, I just need to rest my eyes." I'd then proceed to climb on her and pester her mercilessly. Mom, if you're reading this, I am very sorry for all those times I bothered you while you "rested your eyes." I understand now why you needed those little dozers. :)