Often a memory is the bits and fragments of a thing rearranged and pieced back together after what time has done to the original. I have a few beloved memories from my own fourth birthday party, of hunting suckers and finding one hidden in my grandfather’s glasses, of singing the theme song to Rainbow Bright while hugging my new doll tightly, and of my baby brother throwing a tantrum when he only got three suckers. Mom wouldn’t let him steal from my pile, although it surely seemed a reasonable solution to the toddling two-year-old with dusty blonde hair and bright blue eyes. These memories are a little clearer than most from my earliest of days. Likely because over the years, we’ve watched these 10 minutes or so of recorded family history a number of times. Most recently, it was over Thanksgiving that we pulled out the younger versions of ourselves. My brother’s fiancé hadn’t seen this particular gem, yet. So we watched, all of us, once again, as my grandfather smiled knowingly with the sucker tucked discretely in his glasses. It was my cousin, actually, who had found it and not me. Funny how a video, or an image even, can correct the memories which might otherwise be rewritten.
And, so now this.
He’s a little younger than I was in that homemade video and in those memories which are now integrated into my mind and heart. Just three. I was four.
Maybe he’ll remember that he loved puzzles when he’s grown. Maybe he’ll love them still. Maybe he’ll remember that he was a bright and precocious three-year-old, or maybe the stories we’ll tell will be mostly of how his big emotions and big ideas were often bigger than his tiny little body seemed made to hold.
But there are these moments, too. These quiet, focused moments when he is in his zone. All the drama and unpredictability of being three ceases and the peace and logic of the task takes center stage.
When the little boy who LOVES TO BE LOUD, thrives in the quiet.
And so perhaps, one day he too can look back at these recorded images and remember, and know.
He is loved.