I’m terrified I’ll forget everything.
I stare at the video. A 10-month-old clings to his mother’s leg. Every step she takes leaves the baby in uncontrollable laughter causing the mother to laugh, causing the person recording the video to laugh. Another few steps and they collapse, giggling infectiously.
Tears fill my eyes.
Music is playing in the background. The baby wobbles, trying to stand back up. Wearing only a diaper, his precious baby rolls are visible. The mother hangs him upside down and more giggles reveal a toothless grin.
A wave of nausea sweeps over me.
I silently curse my husband for sending me the video. I’m sure he thought it would be a welcomed break from my work day. I wipe away tears.
The video is a memory from over two years ago. The mom is me, the baby my son, but the baby isn’t a baby anymore. As he reminds me daily, he’s not my baby he’s “a kid”. He just turned three. No longer in diapers, a full set of teeth, and a full grown personality.
I stare at the video trying to remember any details from that moment. Trying to smell that baby smell, trying to picture his toothless facial expressions. But I can conjure up no actual memory for that day. I feel like I’m watching another family’s intimate moment. Was it the lack of sleep I was getting at that time? Was it my full work schedule? Maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t crazy about the newborn/baby stage. Was I so preoccupied with other pieces of life that my brain failed to store what it considered mundane moments? I lived those days, that’s me in the video. I remember being so happy as a new mom and yet the video in front of me strikes no happy memories.
Instead it’s a stabbing reminder that I’ve already begun to forget those baby days. And the baby will never be a baby again.
The anxiety that washes over me next is overwhelming. Will I soon forget these days with a three-year-old? Have I taken enough pictures and videos? Did I back all of those images up? I didn’t write down all of the things he said, all of the things we did. I feel the need to leave work immediately and start a journal, a scrapbook, anything to help me store these moments. I always said that I would, but the days slipped by and the baby books still sit empty.
Later that afternoon I pick up the “kid” from daycare. I hug him tight when we get to the car. I smell his hair, kiss his baby soft cheeks. He squirms to escape, his squeaky voice asks for a snack. I try to burn the moment into my memory. I will myself to never forget. I know that no baby book or hard drive full of pictures will save this memory perfectly, or any other memory for that matter. Instead I promise myself to be present right now. To enjoy the afternoon with my big kid.