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I find as I get older my recollections of childhood fade more and more into a blur of mixed memories and imagined moments. Do I really remember my fourth birthday, with the wonderful gingerbread house cake made by my aunt, or have I simply looked at the photo so often that a memory has been made, absorbed into my subconscious, become real through repeated recall.
Do I remember the day my sister and I made a mud pie in the old baby bath before climbing in and taking a ‘bath’ in it? Or has my mother told the story of having to carry us fully clothed into the house, plonk us in the bath and attempt to clean the mud off so often that it is a memory as real to me as that of what I did yesterday?
Primary School is a series of flashes. Seven years condensed down to a few moments in time. First crush; first boyfriend (in that wonderfully innocent way of seven year olds); fainting, aged ten, during a chapter of The Tripods being read aloud in class; turning somersaults over railings in the playground; running home with slips of paper clutched in my hand after book fairs, desperate for that next book; violin lessons; our music teacher wearing odd shoes; best friends, old friends, new friends.
Secondary School is even hazier. Perhaps deliberately forgotten; washing away teenage angst, fallings out, heartbreak. Those tough years, that make us who we are, but are often hard to relive.
I sometimes wish I had clearer memories of the good times; of the special moments of my childhood. The freeze frames that remain offer little by way of context or detail, or indeed emotion.
Is this unusual? Is this simply what happens as we age? The clarity of memory fading. As much forgotten as remembered? Moments seemingly gone, until they return unbidden, in sudden bursts. Triggered by a song, a smell, a sense of deja vu.
Will it be the same with memories of my children? Those early days with my eldest are already getting misty around the edges; I worry that I will forget how I felt, how he giggled, how hard and amazing and scary it all was.
Is this why I blog? In fear of all that I have already forgotten, to ensure that more is remembered.
My late grandmother was the most wonderful storyteller; I wonder if her ability to recall so much is due to a lost art; that of telling and retelling stories from our past to ensure that they are passed down and remembered. In this world of distractions, have we allowed this skill to die, leaving us without a narrative of our lives?
Or will our digital photos become our narrative, our days captured through the lens, our stories told in images. Less concerned for number of photos taken; no film to buy, no negatives to lose; simply catching the moments as they happen. The gigs of data stored and backed up and saved (but never printed?).
I have the highlights of my childhood safe inside; they may be few, but they are special. For those former years, they will have to be enough.
For the future, I will record. I will tell the story of my good times, my special moments. To be remembered and not forgotten.
You can find this weeks #ThePrompt linky here. I do hope this topic inspired you; I look forward to reading your posts.