The other day I came across a post by one of my new favourite bloggers, entitled: I Was His First Date. It was such a beautiful piece of writing that it prompted me to shy away from my usual type of post and instead write what has been pulling at my heart for some time now…
My pop died when I was three. If I try really hard, I can almost remember sitting on his lap with the toy giraffe I had. But sadly I realise, this memory is stolen from a photograph. It is something I have conjured over the years of seeing the photograph and hoping to remember what my mind cannot.
The realisation floored me. If for some reason she never saw me again, my 15 month old daughter would eventually forget me. At what point, I wonder, would she stop calling for me? At what point would she learn to sleep at night without feeding from me and laying next to me? When would she stop crying if I wasn’t there to nurse her back to sleep?
When would she forget my smile, my smell, the comfort of my skin? When would she stop remembering the game we play where I lay down and she holds my toes, laughing and coming towards me, then finally jumping on me? I wonder, who would know that she only wants her avocado now if it’s mashed? That grapes are her favourite, but that she shouldn’t eat too many? That she says goodbye to her bath water and hands me each of her toys before I get her out?
Well, I suppose everyone knows those tidbits now, but how can anyone possibly know the intricate ways these things are done? The cheeky look she gives me when she’s feeding, the fact that she wants to hold my hand before she falls asleep in the car when I’m in the back with her.
Eventually, other memories would take the place of ours. Other sights and smells would fill up her existence. She wouldn’t remember pinching the underside of my arm while I carry her and saying “oww” to herself, or reaching up to me and saying that beautiful word, “mama”, until I pick her up.
It’s in these moments that I realise the true privilege it is to care for this tiny human.
I like to believe that there would be a smell, or maybe a sound, perhaps somewhere we’ve been together that would trigger memories of me, but I can’t be sure.
Even though she was formed and carried in my own body until she was ready to meet the world, even though we’re an inseparable pair, I may be forgettable.
That is why I need to remember that her pulling all of the toilet paper off the roll is not important, that her pulling my top down in public to get a drink will one day end, that some day she won’t need me to comfort her late at night.
I am learning to cherish every moment with her, because even if I’m one day forgotten, I know that I can never forget her.
She is etched in my soul.