If you knew that you were going to lose your memory and you could write a letter to yourself that contained the things that you most wanted to remember? What would you write?
Here’s what I wrote last year…
If My Memory Should Ever Fail Me
If I was gifted the ability to stop time for twenty-four hours, what would I attempt to accomplish?
Without hesitation, I would spend those hours writing a letter to myself in case my memory ever betrays me, a letter I could hold in my hands, something tangible to prove that I had truly lived.
If such a letter could dislodge even a fragment of memory, it would have been worth every moment spent writing it.
I would attempt to capture…
…what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. I would write about the relationship that I have built with Craig and what it feels like to hold his hand in mine. I would write about the soapy smell of his skin, the feel of his stubble on my cheek, and what it feels like to hear his thoughts as we drift off to sleep each night…what it is to know true contentment.
…how comforting it is to know that a promise for forever is exactly that…to know that I can breathe and just be, without worry.
…what it feels like to have chosen a man who is such an amazing father, who knows such random, yet important, things as how to do Katie’s hair, how to assemble a preschooler-friendly, healthy meal, and how to comfort Matthew when he’s teething.
…how much being a mother to Katie and Matthew fulfills me…that although I am exhausted much of the time, my heart stretches as I close each of their doors at bedtime, knowing that they are safe and happy.
…the way Katie’s gentle golden curls frame her face, how she wakes each morning full of things to say, brimming with excitement, and eager to learn what I have planned for her. I want to remember the way she smells like a mixture of Play-Doh and blueberries and the way she gleefully sings If You’re Happy and You Know It while spinning in circles on tip toes.
…the way Matthew goes limp in my arms at bedtime and how when I shush him and ask him to put his head on my shoulder, he just melts into me. How he wraps his still baby fingers in my hair and pinches the skin under my arms.
…how it feels when Katie looks me in the eye and says, “You’re so nice, Mommy.” I pray that I remember the way she fits into me right now, how her long arms and legs wrap around me and the way her hair tickles my face when I hold her.
…that Matthew lunges for me when he catches sight of me, the weight of his soft body in my arms as I nurse him. I long to remember the way he lights up when I do The Itsy Bitsy Spider on his belly…how his impossibly-long eyelashes flutter as he drifts off to sleep.
…that I was not me before them.
…the happiness that this life brought me…from the small things to the big things. From the moments to weeks to months to years to a lifetime.
..the gratitude that I feel for having been given this opportunity to hold happiness in my hands and that I never took it for granted. For even one second.
And if my memory does truly fail me, then I would hope that I could at least read this letter and be comforted by the fact that I had been a part of such a family, a family that knew joy and appreciated the smallest of moments.