What will our children remember of us?
Ever think of that? I do, all the time. Because when I look back to the memories I have of my parents – the good, the bad, the ugly – it strikes me that they may not have planned for those specific moments to be remembered.
They, like us, probably planned the big occasions – the birthdays, Diwali, family holidays. We plan those and think, yes, this is the stuff my child will remember years from now. They better, do you know how much time went into making these things happen?
But memory is a strange thing, isn’t it? Sometimes, you remember the bad stuff more than the good stuff. The insults more than the compliments. And why not? If life has taught us anything – okay, me, if life has taught me anything – it’s that joy is ephemeral, a sweet taste on the tongue, quick to evaporate. But sorrow, pain, hardship, those are sharp and bitter and even a small taste leaves its imprint on the memory.
There are so many instances where a careless word or deed hurts the other person enough to embed itself in their memory and we, the authors of those words or deeds, have no clue. We never guessed they could make such an impact. If any of us brings up a painful childhood memory with our parents today, odds are they don’t even remember saying or doing anything like that.
But we remember.
They may not remember the way you decorated the house for their birthday, but they’ll remember that one time you snapped at them in front of their friends. They may have a hazy recollection of the family holiday by the beach, the holiday you spent hours planning and booking. But the time you refused to buy them the toy they wanted will be engraved in their memories till kingdom come. And by the same logic, they might not remember the time they got lost at the mall, but they’ll never forget the taste of that mango milkshake you’d make every summer.
My point is, you never know which moment will become a memory. You can’t wait to create the perfect party someday, while every day offers you so many moments to make memorable. And here’s the fun part: even if these moments you enjoy today are forgotten by your kids tomorrow, you won’t forget them. You’ll remember that time in the lockdown when you played Scrabble with your kids and they beat you. Or when you cooked that godawful pasta but the family ate it without complaint anyway and you all laughed about it. Or when your grandmom cheated at cards and sulked when she lost.
And maybe that’s enough reason to live every moment.