I was driving to work this morning through a residential neighborhood near my office, when I passed an intersection bounded on one side by a playground, and another by a church. Traffic was heavy, and slowed as it went through the intersection. As I began to drive through, with the church on my left, I noticed for a brief moment a young woman sitting on the church wall with a little boy who looked to be about a year old or so in her lap. Just as they entered my field of vision, the little boy leaned forward, no doubt watching the children in the playground across the street, and pointed.
Mommy, look! I could almost hear him say, before he settled back into Mommy’s lap.
It’s hard to describe the flood of emotion that this little boy’s gesture brought back. I could almost feel my kids snug in my lap, and could remember the thousands of times they pointed their little fingers excitedly at something, crying Mommy, look! to get my attention. How I used to love to kiss the tops of their little heads, too, their hair sweet as only children’s hair can be, and soft as velvet.
It’s truly amazing how such an everyday scene can evoke such powerful memories. I used to think I needed to document every milestone to the nth degree in order to preserve it for the future, to the point that you can see where the eye-rolling starts in some of our family photos, because Mom is asking for just one more. But it really isn’t that way. As the kids, and probably more importantly I, get older, I find that the smallest things conjure up unbearably sweet memories. It’s amazing, too, how many of those things have nothing to do with my kids and family at all, but come from the everyday life occurrences that we all experience. These days, it seems like every little thing has the power to send me into the past.
The bad news is that I have to keep the tissues close at hand now, because I never know when a memory is going to trigger tears.
The good news is that so many memories are there, as strong as the day we lived them.