Emotional Intelligence :: Daily Grind #166
What's the earliest memory you have? My wife claims to remember things from the earliest age of three-years-old. And remember them clearly. I have memories from possibly four or five, but they are broken and fragmented; missing frames from a water-damaged movie shot in the seventies. I have a recurring thought when I'm playing with my kids, "How much of this are they going to remember?" Right in the middle of a good time and that's the bubble that pops up in my head. I remember so little of my childhood clearly, I worry I may be experiencing early onset dementia. I don't think my memory really kicked in until age seven or eight, but once it did I remembered everything. I used to remember names, dates, faces, news blurbs, quotes, book titles, movie dialogue, jokes, birthdays, song lyrics both real and made-up, roads, actors, presidents, channel lineups...now I don't even remember breakfast yesterday.
I asked my son the other day what was his earliest memory. He replied, "Riding in the car and you asked me, "Where's the bus?!" and I pointed to it and yelled, "There it is!". I have that conversation on tape. He was three, so maybe he takes after his mother. As for me, I actually don't think I have a memory problem. I think I have a caring problem. I used to file things away and save them later because I thought, "This might be important later." Now, I realize the things I care to remember are usually the things I know I'll never be able to forget. And those are always the things that make me think or the things that make me feel. And as you grow older, those things aren't grandiose or even really newsworthy.
The other day, I was in the kitchen making a pot of coffee. I looked out the window and saw my daughter standing outside on the deck with her arms crossed waiting. The leaves were falling in slow motion around her and it was grey and rainy, but she was wearing a bright purple sequined skirt blowing like a flag in the breeze. She was smiling about something only she knew. This. I thought. I'll remember this.
When she came back inside, I asked her what she was thinking about out there. She said, "I was remembering something funny that happened at school today."
"What was it?" I asked.
She answered, "I don't remember."
"But you were just out there smiling about it. How could you forget that quickly?"
She shrugged and started playing on her iPad.
She might take after me.
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