I made an interesting discovery a few days ago. I detected a weakness, saw a challenge and then experienced a moment of resigned understanding.
Allow me to explain…
This weekend I sat chatting with some other first-grade moms during Avery’s basketball game (by the way, still waiting for a basket…at her current rate of skillbuilding Avery should be primed to score her first “2 points” by about the fifth grade. She’s a pretty cute little defender, though.)
As usual, we were discussing our kids and comparing notes. “Oh, Suzy has been counting by tens for months now.” “Sally has already been invited to twelve birthday parties since the beginning of the school year.” “What…is Avery the only one to have earned the nickname ‘skanky mini-skirt wearer’ in the first grade?” Yeah, I’m obviously over that. And for the sake of anonymity “Suzy” and “Sally” are not their real names. Given the growing trend for saddling your kids with originality I probably couldn’t spell their real names anyway.
Somehow our conversation veered towards “Firsts.” As I listened to Suzy and Sally’s moms recount first teeth, steps, haircuts and poops I began to panic as I couldn’t for the life of me remember any dates. Not a single one.
“How about Avery?” Suzy’s mom asked. “Was she an early walker?”
Umm…umm…er. And then suddenly my mouth began spinning this little tale, spewing out fabricated discourse. “Actually, she took her very first steps on her first birthday.” (Not really.) “She saw a shiny little present in my hand and beat feet over to grab it. Shocked us all. So, so cute.” (Gawd…can these women tell I’m lying? Are my hands shaking?)
The moms smiled and nodded their heads. “Actually, that seems to happen a lot. I’ve heard that same story quite a few times.”
Yeah, because other dialed-out moms like me fail to remember these milestones and therefore find themselves reinventing history.
And, as you can imagine, I had all sorts of cute little stories about Avery’s teeth, haircuts and first little poop. Fortunately, Jack’s bowel history is recent enough I had actual facts for that story.
Later that night, after Ihad darted out of the gymnasium, paranoid that I would be branded with a scarlet L or grow a giant nose,I confessed to Jer that I have apparently blocked out the past and have unfortunately picked up a gift for lying.
“Mindy, you didn’t block out the past, and you’ve always been a good liar,” Jer said.
“Um, obviously I did block some stuff out,Jer. I can’t remember a single dang date. Those women were sitting there throwing out all kinds of dates about their four kids and I can’t pull out a single detail about my two kids. That’s not normal, Jer. And, thanks by the way. You sure know how to flatter a girl.”
“Yeah, it’s called a bad memory. I have one too. If someone were to offer me a million dollars to tell them when Avery lost her first tooth I couldn’t pull that date out of my butt for nothing,” Jer said.
“Nice, Jer. Try not to use the words “Avery” and “butt” in the same sentence, next time, please. But I get your point. Something is definitely wrong with us. We need to start doing Sudoku puzzles,” I explained. “We need help.”
“Okay, that wasn’t my point. Add ‘obtuse’ to your list of skills. Mindy, did it ever occur to you why those moms remembered those dates?”
“Because they’re better moms than I am, obviously.” Thanks for the reminder there, hon.
“How do you know they weren’t making stuff up?”
Wait a minute.
Could it be?
Could these moms have been reinventing history themselves?
“Hmmm…now that you mention it, that is a distinct possibility,” I said.
“Alright, butjust in case let’s bring out the crosswords. I plan on being armed and ready for the next basketball game.”
So, how about you? Do you have a mind like a steel trap or do you tend to reinvent history a little bit?
My conclusion is this: while exact dates and times are nice and can be handy,the real magic is in the memory itself. Do I remember where the milestones hit on the calendar? No. But do I distinctly remember the feeling I had watching my little girl teeter her way to a first step? Most definitely.