Yesterday you asked me if you could go on a run with me.
We were walking to your piano lesson - something I insisted on even though you complained that we walk every time and maybe I don't realize that walking home from school and then to and from piano lessons (combined time of approximately 30 minutes) might be too much for a six year old. The sun was shining, spring was finally starting to spring, and I was prepared to be frustrated with you.
Not a race with a bunch of people, just out for a run. With me. Just the two of us.
A smile crept across my face. I held your hand a little tighter. And I said yes. I would love that.
Maybe today or tomorrow? you asked.
Tomorrow, I replied. Quick! I thought to myself. Quick, before she doesn't want to be with you, close to you, happy to be doing what you're doing, together. Don't miss this chance!
Maybe our first real run together will be something you will always remember. Maybe it will be one of your favourite memories of the two of us together. Or maybe when I pick you up from school today you'll be too tired or you just won't feel like it. But this time, I won't insist that we get out there and enjoy ourselves whether we like it or not, because we have memories to make and a childhood to make special, dammit!
I am coming to realize that the memories make themselves. Every day, in the big and the small, the memories are being made no matter how many articles I read or hours I spend worrying about how to do it right. That moment between us yesterday was a very special one for me. I witnessed a memory being made. I felt it wriggle its way into a corner of my brain and take up residence. It felt warm.
I am also realizing that it doesn't matter to me if your memories include the coolest Hallowe'en costumes or the most original loot bags or the most elaborate vacations. I want you to remember me smiling, laughing, hugging a lot, and listening. I want to you to remember that I made you feel loved, capable, and important. And now that I've learned the secret to making memories - that my job is not to carefully select, package and insert each memory into your brain, but rather to show up and be the person I want you to remember - I find myself witnessing even more memories.
I remember holding you on my lap after dinner last night while we looked at houses on the computer with your dad. You looked through all of the pictures, searching for the perfect place in each house to set up an art table. Your bare legs were dangling over my arm, and I couldn't believe how little and how big they looked. I felt the warm weight of your back on my chest. I was so content.
I remember rubbing my cheek against yours as I carried you upstairs. We tried to decide whose cheek was softer. I thought yours. You thought mine. I think I've never felt a cheek so soft and warm and unbelievably kissable.
I remember how much I love our Uno games before bed, and how I love it when you win. I used to lose on purpose, but I worried that winning all of the time might make you a poor sport. So then I won a couple of times, and worried that you would lose your confidence and not want to play anymore. Now I just play. Because you're not going to remember how many times you won or lost. You're going to remember that you and mom and dad played hundreds of games of Uno before bed and there was a lot of laughter, a few tears, and an alarming amount of trash talk.
The moral of the story is the same as every moral since Elsa and Anna came on the scene: Let it Go. The memories are making themselves. Let them.