I Remember

26 Nov 2022

I sit on the headland, the soft grass below, the warm sun above. I look out over the ocean, waves beating against the rocks below. I have sat here many times before in this very same spot, in the same town that I grew up in, the same town that my mother grew up in, and I remember.

I remember my first day at school. I remember my bright yellow uniform, hoping that the teachers would be nice, and scared that the other kids would not like me.

I remember my brother sitting at the dining table, picking the hard brown scabs from his healing knees and eating them when mum wasn’t watching. My brother with his skinny little legs and his skinny little arms, mousy brown hair just like mine, and large brown freckles sprinkled across his nose and cheeks, just like mine. Now tall and balding in his mid thirties, he is still my best friend.

I remember my sister and I fighting over whether the light should be on or off in the room we shared. My sister whose mothering of my brother and I would drive us to punch ups and screaming matches, invariably ending in us calling our mother at work for her to sort out vital issues such as who was allowed the last of the Milo. My sister who even now is there for me any time I call.

I remember my grandfather pretending to blow up his bicep muscle by blowing air through his thumb, I remember his warm smile and how big he was to me ... he was like a mountain ... and I remember the day he died.

I remember the first day I was dragged across the street to meet a girl, thinking it nothing but a distraction from my cartoons. I remember being told, “you will be great friends”. I guess that now, after more than two decades of midnight talks of boys and music, holding hands when times were bad, giggling insanely when they were good, I could possibly concede that they were right.

I remember my mother who, despite the ample opportunities for disappointment in me, never once has she withdrawn her love and support.

I remember the day my son was born, holding him for the first time with his little face bruised by his delivery. I apologised to him for that and whispered the promise then that I would always protect him. Throughout the years since then I have tried to keep that promise, much to his dislike and resistance now.

I remember the first kiss with my husband. I may not remember clearly the first time we made love but that first kiss will be the memory I will be holding closest when I have my last breath.

I remember the day my daughter was born, hearing her screams and knowing that this child was different. She possesses the skill to manipulate everyone around her ... to convince people that the Pope is not Catholic, and the sky is not blue. But alongside this skill also comes the passion and joy of life that seeps from her and infects all those around her.

The memories that I hold, multitudes of bits and pieces fit together to make me. They can let me reminisce about the journey so far and anticipate the future without fear. I want for nothing.

I have a husband who is the love of my life, my best friend and the one who knows me best, but stays every day anyway.

I have a son whom I treasure with a passion and am proud to call mine but, at times ... given that a footstool was handy ... would slap him silly for his teenage laziness and random acts of stupidity.

I have a daughter who in just one single moment can grip my heart and wring it out so much that not a drop of blood remains but then, moments later, fill it up with such love and adoration that one heart is just not enough.

With all the memories that I hold and the things that I now have, I look to the future with hope. The future will come ... the clock does not stop ticking, it just keeps going at the same pace ... not slower like I thought when I was younger and not faster like it feels of late ... but rhythmical and unchanging. When I look to the future I have hopes and dreams for myself and my family. Even if those dreams are never realised, it is the journey towards them that I will remember and that makes my life, no matter what, a successful one.


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