My First Memory

13 Apr

When searching for inspiration for this blog post, I ran across this article on Slate, about people’s earliest memories. I think it’s super interesting how we can live three or four years of our lives and have absolutely no recollection of them, and then another three or four with vague memories. It’s not until about second or third grade that I start being able to recall anything my parents mention and have memories of my own.

However, there are some moments from before that time that have stuck in my head, for whatever strange reason. There’s walking up to my first day of kindergarten, Ashleigh chipping her tooth on the bus, sitting in the tunnel with Meg at preschool recess, hiding in Meg’s closet because I thought my dad would just leave me to play longer if he couldn’t find me (kids are stupid), the first time I had a male friend come over to play (I was about three) and thought to myself that we were probably going to get married someday, just because he was the first boy my own age I had ever spent any time with. I don’t even know who he was, so I’m pretty sure the marriage isn’t happening.

None of those are my earliest memory. The very first thing I remember is when I was learning to walk. I’m in the living room of our old house, Mom and Dad are sitting on opposite sides of the room. It seems like a really long ways apart, but I’m sure it was only about five feet. Dad is behind me and Mom has her arms outstretched and is grinning as I toddle towards her.

There’s a possibility that isn’t a real memory, that my parents have a video or something and I’ve convinced myself it’s a memory even though it’s not. So, if it’s not, my second memory:

This one definitely can’t be fake, because there’s no one who would have told me about it. I’m probably a few months older (so weird! there are months of my life – all of our lives – I can’t account for at all), because I can walk comfortably. I’m at the daycare I went to before we switched to Harbor Square. One of the worker ladies is in a rocking chair in the corner, and kids are painting handprints to put on the wall, but I don’t want to. I walk to the other side of the room, and just above eye level is a plastic Big Bird. I remember looking at the Big Bird, seeing him between two other things – one red and kind of rectangular – and reaching up to grab it to play with. That’s all. Maybe this was important because being able to do anything for myself, even something as simply as picking up a toy to play with, was so new for me. Maybe it wasn’t important at all. But there it is, my earliest memory. What’s yours?


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