As time marches on, I remember less and less about what my boys did as babies. I guess this is natural. My mom says she has no memory of her girls ever misbehaving, fighting, or challenging her in any way. Surely, we did. It’s mildly comforting to know I’m not alone, but my mom has had more years than me to forget. She is 60, and I am 37, and I worry that chemotherapy has burned some of the paths connected to my past.
While I can’t recall the specifics of what happened six years ago, when Joey was born, and four years ago, when Danny was born, I do have record of it all, thanks to my scrapbooks and the detailed journaling that fills its pages. Writing is a gift in so many ways.
In August 2003, I wrote about Joey:
He talks a lot about the big guy. We are not sure who the big guy is but sometimes when we say “no”to one of Joey’s requests, he says, “The big guy says “Yes.’”
I barely remember this.
When Danny was a baby, I wrote that he cried every time we rode in the car. Once the car stopped, he smiled. He smiled all the time, I described. He was such a happy baby. This memory escapes me.
There are still moments that are fresh in my mind, like when my mom noticed Joey’s runny nose and asked him if he needed a tissue. “No,” he replied. “I have a long-sleeve shirt.”
I remember when Danny grabbed my hot curling iron with his nine-month-old baby hand, how he cried, how I took him for treatment every week for weeks and weeks, how guilty I felt for allowing the cord of this appliance to dangle off the bathroom counter, right where he could grab it.
I don’t remember Joey’s phrase, “OK, cowboy!” or how Danny bounced endlessly to music while his big brother danced his little heart out. Maybe chemo is slowly killing my brain. Maybe this is just what happens as time passes and experiences stack one on top of the other. Maybe it’s just not possible to store all that’s happened in the six years since I’ve been a mom. That’s what I prefer to think, anyway.