Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Making Memories

Sometimes I wish I was a better scrapbooker/picture taker. I look back at the past seven months of our lives and realize how fast it's gone, and how many things I've failed to document. For example, every time I take Benjamin to the doctor, I make a mental note to remember his exact weight and length so I can record it in his Kidmondo online baby book. But after they give him his vaccinations, he screams so hard that all I can think of is soothing him and getting home. By the time I get home, I can remember the pounds but not the ounces and have no memory at all of the length. All I know is that he is "above average for height and average for weight." So on his growth chart, it shows that he's grown ONCE in seven months. I know that he got his first teeth somewhere around four months but by the time I got around to writing it down, I couldn't remember the exact date they first broke through.

Occasionally my mother-in-law calls me with such exciting news of my nephew as, "Jackson ate carrots!" or "Jackson rolled over!" Every time this happens, I feel bad for not having excitedly shared the same news about Benjamin with the whole family whenever it happened. At some point he started rolling over and if I happened to see someone that same day, I might have told them. But otherwise, it just became part of the norm--not worth sharing. But should I have written it down at least?

My friend Joy always posts darling videos of her son on facebook and I love watching them and remembering when Benjamin first did similar things to what London does in the videos. But when Benjamin does something cute, I usually just get so caught up in the moment that I forget to run for the video camera. Today I tried really hard to remember to keep the camera close and I actually got a video of him clapping--so cute! But I don't even know how to get it from the camera to do anything with it.

I'm sure I will learn and get better about this. But on the other hand, I don't want to become so obsessed with documenting memories that I miss them while they're happening. I love looking at pictures in scrapbooks, and sometimes they bring back memories. But some of my most powerful memories aren't recorded at all and they come up at the most unexpected times. Like how the smell of Clinique makeup causes my grandmother's memory to fill my senses in a living way that a photo couldn't touch. Or how sunscreen somehow bottles all the summers of my life like some sort of sunshine genie and releases them in one glorious burst--cold on my skin, warm in my soul. How feeling my friend's belly when her baby girl kicks sends a ghost of a remembered kick through my own. How every once in a while a kiss reminds me of our very first one and I feel like a teenager again--skinny and scared and so happy that he likes me. I could go on and on but none of these things will ever be in a picture--they just couldn't. It wouldn't be the same. And I wonder what things I'll remember all my life from these first mothering moments of it, and what senses will awaken the echoes of all the laughter of these days.


Amber said...

The good thing is that your doctor will always have Ben's chart with all that info. You can just ask for a copy and fill in the growth chart when you have time.
My memory is not nearly as good as yours. I need those pictures to take me back in time and help me remember those special moments. And someday when most of my memory is gone, I'll be happy to sit and look through old pictures and feel young again. Some of my favorite family times are when we get the old albums out and talk about each picture or when we watch old videos of us growing up. Fun stuff!
We would love to see more pics/videos of Benjamin, and you can always call us with exciting news! Love ya, sis!

Shanna said...

My mom was never a big picture-taker. We have plenty of photos from vacations and birthdays and first days of school and Halloween and stuff like that, but other than the sort-of momentous occasions that scream photo-op, we just don't have a lot. And that's okay. She still remembers with vivid detail the things that happened when we were babies--and if you mention anything that brings a memory up in her mind, you'll hear the story. Her memories and your post make me think of the verse in Luke which says that Mary stored up memories of Jesus in her heart.

hilarina said...

One of my very favorite artists ever is John Mayer. Your post brought some of his lyrics to mind, which have been particularly helpful to me in releasing myself from obligations and expectations to take pictures all the time (which has been nice to remember, since I'm usually pretty obsessive about it and can get wound up :)) Here they are, from his song 3x5

Didn't have a camera by my side this time. Hoping I would see the world with both my eyes. Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm in the mood to lose my way with words.

That's what I see in you, Kristi :) You savor your world with both of your eyes and then later capture moments in writing :) I hope you find some comfort in these lyrics as I do :)