I’ve called Colorado home for fourteen years. There’s something about making new memories in the same places that holds old memories, something sweet that also makes me feel my age.
A few days ago, Rob and I went hiking on a trail I’ve been on at least 100 times, with so many different people at different stages of my life. I’ve been there a lot, yes, but never once alone. Hiking is always something I do with someone else, and it’s always a time of meaningful conversation, which is probably why I remember it all.
I hiked that trail with my dad in high school and talked through numerous faith crises. I hiked that trail with Rob when we were dating and falling in love. I hiked that trail two days after getting out of the mental hospital, each step one towards healing. I hiked that trail pregnant with my first baby. I imagine myself there with teenage Auden and George behind me, maybe telling me about their own faith crises.
There are coffee shops scattered around my suburb that I frequent and have since high school. Perhaps it’s the smell of coffee—my favorite smell—that brings back the times I’ve been to them before. I drive by one coffee shop where I had the DTR with a high school boy, another where I went to edit my book every day for two years of grad school, one where I interviewed unsuccessfully for a job, another where I always and still do meet with a particular friend, and, of course, one with a drive thru that I only now appreciate with two children in car seats.
Not all memories are good. Earlier this month, I was sitting in the waiting room of my psychiatrist. I hadn’t been there in a while, and for some reason, sitting there brought back all the times before. She has recently painted the room a horrible shade of lime green. It is neither pleasant nor calming, and I really do wonder what she was thinking. (Is there some research about this color of green I am unaware of?)
Often when I am in that room, I am not at my best. “How is it that I am here again?” I thought to myself as I cringed at the new paint job. Except this time, I am 10 years past a diagnosis, and my visits to this now green room can be fewer and less fraught with emotion.
I’m well aware that Auden is now at the age where he can make lasting memories. He will remember bits and pieces of his childhood, and I have a big hand in that. I want to make his childhood magical and I have all sorts of aspirations, but my own shortcomings as a parent make me nervous.
Will he remember the time I yelled out of frustration? If so, I hope he also remembers that I apologized.
Will he remember the time I rushed bedtime because I was ready to be alone? If so, I hope he also remembers the one-on-one trips to get donuts on Saturdays.
Will he remember that I was too tired to play dinosaurs on the floor with him and his brother? If so, I hope he also remembers our family dance parties in the living room.
The time I fought unfairly with his dad within his earshot? I hope he remembers all the times his dad and I held hands.
What will I remember from right now?
I’m 29, in the thick of everyday-ness. Stay at home motherhood is not glamorous. It is boring; it is sweet. It is both.
Rob has been home this summer, and that’s brought so much joy into the routine. Everyone is much happier when daddy is home, and I find I am a much better parent when I have constant help. (Ha.)
I’ve attended a few births as a doula recently, and it still surprises me that such excitement found its way into my ordinariness. I find myself going back and forth about how much I want this birth-interest to take up residence in my life—do I want to be a doula again? When does an interest warrant moving towards a hobby or a job? My thoughts are muddled and I can’t seem to puzzle through to an answer.
Anyway, these days tend to run together and I have to remind myself to be present. I will continue to build memories in this place I call home, and my children will build their own memories, and I guess that’s how a life is made. I doubt in the meantime I’ll make much a of mark on the world, but if I did, it would say “she was here and she was (mostly) happy.”
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