Do you remember eating your breakfast as a child? I’m not asking whether you ate it, or even what you might have liked, just whether you remember actually doing it? I don’t.
I know that I ate breakfast every day throughout my childhood. But I cannot for the life of me recall the bowl I ate it in, where I sat to eat or what I did whilst doing so? Did I watch TV, talk to my brother? I don’t know!
I ask because something as ordinary as this has been completely forgotten. Yet I did it daily. It was so ingrained in my life that somehow I can no longer even remember it. And of course I have taken this example, but the same would go for bath-times, walking to school, bedtime and so on. The every day has not carved a mark in my mind.
Of course I do have stacks of childhood memories, and I remember some bath-times (the one where my brother tried to wee on me whilst I was in there), some walks to school (the one where I was going to get my exam results), and some bedtimes (the ones where I would stay up so very late reading into the night, and yes, the books do stay in my mind). But it seems that the mind is a funny old thing, and can be quite selective over the things that it retains. It only seems to remember the out of the ordinary moments.
I am sure there’s a reason and a science behind all of this. All that I know is that it seems that the repetitive ordinary moments are not retained. Not by me anyway.
Like most of us, I want to ensure that my kids’ childhood is something that they look back on and remember fondly. How many times do we see the #makingmemories hash tag on social media these days? All the time, yes?! It is important to create these memories, capture these moments. Do the ordinary moments matter, though?
Will my kids remember that every morning when they wake up they clamber into bed with us for a cuddle to start their day? Will they remember that I hold their hands tightly whenever we go for a walk? Will they remember that I am always there to pick them up from school, with a hug and a kiss? Will they remember that I tell them that I love them each night after their bedtime story?
I suspect the answer is ‘no’, they won’t recall any of these things in a few years time. And that’s OK. Because whilst these won’t be the things that stick out in their minds in the years yet to come, they are the things that make up the fabric of their todays. They are the constants that make them feel safe and loved. They are the foundations upon which we can go out and have our adventures and have fun #makingmemories.
So do the ordinary moments matter if they won’t be remembered? More than anything else. They mean that we start our days right, they mean that we go to sleep every night loved and happy. The ordinary moments are the ones that I will cherish right now, even if it is the special moments that I’ll cherish when I look back on their childhood.