That's the beauty of being given the task of looking backwards when you don't have the memories for yourself. Here it is, my beginning, of which I know nothing about except that I was there. I was here in this picture and I was there in that house and this hair was once attached to me and now it's... old hair. In an envelope.
Which I appreciate. Because it's the part of my timeline I don't remember.
I don't remember my first birthday and my kids won't remember their first birthdays either, but I will remember those moments for them--the milestones, like post-it notes sticking out of the books I keep and store for them as my mother did for me and hers and hers and hers... until they take over and keep their own journals, online, offline, on the backs of their hands in permanent ink...
"When you are old like me you will find that looking back is what gives you the most joy," she told me. "Revisiting all of those memories, writing them all down. Knowing they're there and you can visit them..."
My Nana's boyfriend was recently diagnosed with Alzeimer's. She writes him letters about the days they spend together so that he can relive them in place of the memory gone missing and it has become an integral part of their relationship. Like the love letters we used to write and pass in class. The ones we thought meant the world. The ones we have saved in our parents' garages and read to remember. Those were as much our milestones as anything.
The first kiss and the first love and the first time you had to hide the hickey from your parents.
Remember me. Remember this. Remember us.
And if you can't, I will.
And in case I don't, I'll write it down.
I have been writing it all down since I was eight years old, for better and for worse, and when I pulled out an old journal from 8th grade, I was taken aback by my complete lack of sense but also all of these moments I had forgotten. Moments that had a profound effect on who I am now. Milestones.
I was told, even before Bo and Revi were born that the first year of twin parenting was going to be excruciatingly difficult, but when I look back on that first year, all I see is hope.
The first cries and the first smile and the first steps = hope. The first time Bo found her wave...
I was in the kitchen when Bo stood up and walked to me from the hallway. I was in the dining room when Revi stood up and did the same.
That's what memories do. That's what looking back does.
Don't look back, everyone says.
But how lucky are we that we can. How fortunate that we have the tools to remind ourselves of the time they... and the time we... and how we all... and it felt like...
Push forward, look back, push forward, look back.
This is their dance.
And watching them dance is part of ours.
This post is inspired by Shot@Life, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation that educates, connects and empowers the championing of vaccines as one of the most cost effective ways to save the lives of children in the world’s hardest to reach places.During Shot@Life’s Blogust, 31 bloggers, one each day in August, are writing about moments that matter. For every comment on this post and the 30 other posts, Walgreens will donate a vaccine (up to 50,000 vaccines). A child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease. We can change this reality and help save kids’ lives!Sign up here for a daily email so you can quickly and easily comment and share every day during Blogust! Stay connected with Shot@Life at www.shotatlife.org, join the campaign on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. And be sure to check out Casey @ Moosh in Indy's post tomorrow. Thanks in advance for your comments, friends!