Second Chance at a First Memory


What is life?

The answer seems more uncertain than ever. But from what I can gather so far, life is a collection of memories. We're all just trying to do something today that's worth remembering tomorrow. Yet after 35 years of tomorrow's, my memories are few.

Some experiences have been buried so deep,  I question if they were ever real. Sometimes, they are clearer than ever. Other times, it's just static and white noise. Or depending on your particular trauma, perhaps red noise or black noise or noise mixed with varied colors of why me. 

Some memories just fade with time - they were good for a day or maybe a week, but not significant enough to last through the years. This is my fear of our current society. So much of our daily consumption is controlled by fleeting moments of pseudo social connections. I fear that 10 years from now, we will remember taking the picture, but the true essence of the moment the picture was intended to capture, will be absent. 

Though my memories are few, the ones I have are vivid and life giving when I need them most. Many of them involve days spent with my Grandmother or Granna as she was called, going back as far as 3 years old. Dukes of Hazzard will always have a place in my heart, not necessarily because of the quality of the show, but because we used to watch it together on the tiny TV on the dresser - I'm talking old school VHF/UHF knobs. Sometimes, I'd sit with her in her bed and other times, I'd sit in the chair next to her night stand, perfectly positioned in front of the bright sun-filled window. Much of the San Francisco sky was occupied by fog, but somehow the clouds always managed to disappear from Masonic St. when looking out from her window.

Without question, the most vivid memory I have in life, is with her in the kitchen; it engages all of my senses. She used to make the best yams ever. I remember being with her while she prepped. I remember the smell of the butter. I remember what she wore.  I remember the pink pig with the green hat on the counter, which my mom still has to this day. I remember how the butter would begin to melt. I remember the aroma that filled the house when the butter and sweet potatoes would hold hands as they sat in the oven having a conversation that seemed to last for hours. And of course I remember the taste. Even as I write this, it feels like I'm back in that very kitchen, as if I'm interviewing her for an article on cooking.

Unfortunately, my memories were cut short when she lost her battle with cancer. I feel like my capacity to love and engage and invest in something/someone long enough and intensely enough to create such memories, died with her.

That is until my oldest Son Aaren was born and my mom became a Grandmother. Their relationship has developed into something beautiful. Aaren and Lady D are inseparable, much like me and Granna were, but to an even greater degree. His laughter increases and his smile widens when he's with her. The day can't come fast enough when he's scheduled to go to her house. They look more and more alike with each moment spent together. Though he's only 6 he already knows so much about her: her favorite colors, cupcake flavors, phone password - I don't even know her phone password. He knows where everything is in her kitchen as well as how to make certain recipes because of time spent together. The memories they are creating, are more meaningful than I think either of them realize - much like the memories Granna and I were able to create.

So again, I ask the question: what is life? As stated earlier, a series of today's trying to be meaningful enough to be remembered tomorrow. While writing this, I realized that after the passing of Granna, my tomorrow's stopped - as did my memories - because I didn't want to let go of the fact that we would no longer share any today's. This is why the relationship between my Mom and Son is so necessary. Seeing them gives me a second chance at a first memory. Seeing them finally gives me a tomorrow.