Memories. Mashallah. The complexity of the brain. We go about our daily lives, that oh so often seem to be, in the moment, nothing much and then bam! here we are three years later, five years, twenty years later calling upon those moments with fondness. Never underestimate the nothings, Babyones.
Little ones, I wonder what you’ll look back on from these complex early years of yours. Even now, tiny as you both are, you astound me with your recollective abilities. “Mum, remember when I was a baby and ate that chilli?!” “We went on a train on my birthday” “We’ve driven down this road, Mum; you’re going the wrong way!” and nine times out of ten, you’re right, yes we did. When you talk now about Turkey, you look on it fondly, and sometimes it seems longingly. You, M, miss your friends and ask about shopping in the pazaar every time we enter a supermarket. T, you miss your “big, big, digger” and the hosepipe and ask what a pazaar is. Only sixteen months separate you both, yet the difference that makes to memory is fascinating to watch unfold.
Of this time now, will you remember the zoo most? How we have a well-trod-out circuit from elephants, to giraffe, to non-existent bear to penguins and back? The monorail you love to gaze out from while picnicking on crisps in the dryness of the train? The baby tigers we saw just last week, or the baby giraffe, T, whom you identify with “look Mummy! He drinks Mummy’s milk too…he’s just like me!” and spend hours every visit mesmerised by.
Will you – or rather, do you! – remember flying a kite and learning how to pedal a bike?
Will river walks trump out the zoo for memory space? How we pack a picnic in lunchboxes – a frog and a monkey, interchangeable whose is whose – and walk from home to the meadows, or feed the ducks & pigeons after making the bridge bounce?
Or perhaps it’ll be the train rides to Liverpool and whole days in the Walker, where on the stairs hangs a painting of “a goat telling the baby to put his nappy on” (quote: T).
Will your memory banks be filled with hours spent in “Gwanma’s” house, being roughed up and loved without restraint? T, if watching Frozen on the big telly doesn’t rank high up there? Just a heads up that you may end up being the one singing just “Let It Go!”
The bike workshops you set up now, will they mean as much to you then? And will your many sand-filled adventures yield the same pleasure in memory as they do before my eyes?
I guess that’s another reason why God gave us parents; to treasure our past as we look forward to the future.
If there’s one thing this period of ours lives is teaching me kiddos is how fleeting and precious is time. And how easily time itself can be changed. When we smile and dance and paint -each other and the paper – and build towers to the ceilings and wave “hi” to the ducklings, on those days time seems to skip past on us. Other days, when you’re missing Baba, and I’m missing him too, and paint won’t turn the colours you want it, and you said rice but I cooked pasta, on those days, time grants us do-over hours. Inshallah, from these later of days, its the do-overs your memories will have chosen to hold onto. How we pile into my bed and pull the covers up tight and hug and tickle and giggle it out until the sadness has run away and happiness has crawled in besides us. I hope you remember the giggles; your laughs are sounds deep imprinted in my heart.