I sit in front of the pile of fresh laundry to fold. It is such a mundane job! I feel I am doing the same thing over and over. It seems like a never ending job. It looks as though I am always found with a pile of laundry, either washing a load, or putting them out to dry or like today, folding them to put away. I sort the piles into mine, my husband’s, my two daughters’, bed linen and towels, and a pile that needs to be pressed.
Then suddenly I pause with a t-shirt of the girls’. It is an ordinary t-shirt, a much loved one, and one that has been worn many a time and one that I have folded over and over. I realise suddenly that I am now shopping for my girls’ outfits in the adult/teenage section and now I just bypass the kids’ section altogether in the mall. I don’t even turn to look at the clothes that I once pored over to find just the right match for the cute little pants I had picked out earlier.
I stop folding. Where had the years slip by? It seems like yesterday that I held them in my arms in the hospital and here they are all grown up and ready to fly away into the world. Am I ready for that?
I try and recall all the moments of their childhood. For the life of me, I can’t remember everything. In fact, I can’t remember either of them ever being knee-length, waist-length, or even shoulder-length to me. I have photos to show that they were once of that height, but I can’t recall ever folding tiny shirts and tiny pants, even though I surely must have, for if you recall, I am always doing laundry ;).
Other day, I met a neighbour of mine playing with her 1 year old daughter. The baby was holding a ball and she would pick it up, walk to her mom, drop the ball at her feet and look up at her mom and expect her mom to pick up and give it back to her. Then again walk a distance drop the ball, pick it up and then drop it at her mom’s feet again. It was so cute to watch. The mom seemed to understand everything the baby was saying without her having to say a word.
Now, I try to rummage in my memory to find one such playtime incident with my girls and I draw a blank. Don’t you go and get ideas that I did not play with them at all! I did!! But I can’t recall them moment to moment. I remember their childhood in chunks of important incidents. For example,
- I remember their first day at school, but not subsequent day or any other day after that.
- I remember the racket my daughter made when the nurse had to draw a little blood for a test, but I don’t remember why or the test result.
- I remember my younger daughter say only the word ‘amma’ and get all her things done, but I can’t remember both of their first words.
- I remember how my younger one once got badly burnt with a hot iron box, but I can’t remember how long it took to heal.
- I remember teaching them their school subjects but not all of the subject matter.
- I remember buying clothes after lot of deliberation but cannot recall the colours or designs.
There are so many such memories that are broken up into chunks. The moments of these times became memories only because they were somehow important at that time. Otherwise all moments just pass us by. After the moment is gone, there is no trace left of it in anyone’s memories. Time is such a leveller. It just runs on without stopping or caring if we are turning that moment into a memory or not.
I realise that it is humanely impossible to make all moments into memories, but I must now at least try and make most moments into memories so that the next time I sit down to fold another pile of laundry I can relive some of these memories from my mind bank.