During the first year or two that I lived in New York, my mind's eye would occasionally take me to an old, familiar haunt in Boston. One afternoon, during corpse pose at the end of a yoga class, I found myself on a little side street in our old green car (Greens) heading to the YMCA in Dorchester (Dot).
I didn't flash to the Y itself. I didn't flash to a major intersection. I didn't flash to much more than a ten-yard stretch of pavement with sidewalks, trees, and big, beautiful Victorian houses on either side.
Tonight, nursing Squish, I closed my eyes and, for just a moment, found myself standing at the corner of Prince and Broadway - waiting to cross Broadway (presumably to head downtown on the R train).
I traveled down those back streets in Dorchester plenty of times, and I crossed that intersection in SoHo more times than I want to remember. But remember I do. And it feels not at all voluntary.
So what about the memories I reach out for?
When I look at Squish, I cannot imagine him without curls springing up all around his adorable little head. But I know that his hair lay flat on his head no more than four months ago.
When I look at Bug, I cannot imagine him without a vocabulary big enough to call himself The Mighty Zoomster. But I know that there was a time when he called every light an "off."
Today I read a piece about the importance of preserving the family's collective memory of itself. And then, I realized that, given its druthers, my mind would keep only memories about brief moments in transit, and it would probably discard the rest.
So it looks like I am going to have to make a concentrated effort to document our history.
Let's start with this:
Tonight, Squish cried all the way home from pick-up at school/daycare (and so did I - it was awful).
He muddled through some dinner, but then started to cry some more - prompting me to start the bedtime routine early. As I was nursing Squish and wondering where and how everything had fallen apart, Bug came in to cheer us up. He explained that he was a whale. Then he told me that he was a Daddy Whale, and that I was a Mommy Whale. We said hello to each other in our respective whale voices (his deep like a Daddy - mine was . . . like mine).
Eventually, my husband herded Bug to his bath - no small feat.
Soon, Squish was fussing again. So I held him upright in my arms. He looked down at the floor and started squealing happy squeals. I put him down on the floor, and he started to play with some blocks in the basket by Bug's bed. He played and moved around the room as if nothing had been bothering him. Nothing at all. And certainly nothing that would make a baby cry for half an hour or more.
I brought Squish into the bathroom to join Bug and my husband during Bug's bath. Bug made moustaches out of bubbles, and Squish tore off sheets of toilet paper and wiped his nose with them. Two amazing goobers enjoying their evening together.
When it was time for Squish's Bedtime Take Two, Bug said goodnight and blew him a kiss, and Squish smiled.
Two truly amazing, wonderful, sweet, dear, dear, dear goobers.
So there it is. The story of an ordinary Wednesday night in mid-September, when Bug is almost three and Squish is almost one and we live in Arlington.