My brother, his wife and their young family are coming to visit us for a few days. Seeing our nephew and niece grow – becoming little people with their own opinions – is particularly fascinating. Not having children, I can only ever experience this third hand and find it intriguing how seemingly small events from their past have now affected their emerging personalities.
I am very cognisant of the fact that, whenever we are together, we are creating memories. They are of an age where they will most likely eventually forget almost everything that they do or experience so the challenge is always to give them memories that sear into their minds.
Think of your own childhood memories. Most of them are an amalgamation of real happenings along with familial folklore and day-dreams. The reality gets contorted and the lines of truth get blurred. Did I really sit in a plate of scrambled eggs because a large dog leapt up at me when visiting Joan and Jimmy? I think I did, but my brain may have exaggerated certain elements of it from the size of the dog to the amount of scrambled egg.
So many of my memories have a vaguery about them where the movie I play back in my brain is informed by photographs I may have seen of the event or a time very near it, to the extent where those memories have the pictoral tone of photographs from that era. It’s very strange.
I wonder how events will be catalogued with my nephew and niece – or with all children out there of a particular age – where so much of their history will be recorded and accessible to them. Not for them the jerky, silent cinefilms of my own personal youth, rarely seen except on high days and holidays. They will be able to access and playback the important events in their lives basing their own recollections on whatever the director and editor of those films (ie their mum and dad) chose to shoot.
One day, I imagine, Jake and Kara will relate to their friends about visiting their uncle and aunt up north. Endless car journeys punctuated with stops at castles en route. Arriving in another time and place, away from everything they are familiar with, getting lost around a topsy turvy house that goes in seemingly odd and unconventional directions. Knick-knacks and antiques; collectibles and curiosities. Was there really a Victorian wheelchair backlit with a red light under the stairs? And what about all those ducks, what was that about? Remembering pony rides and steam trains, throwing big rocks from a bridge into a river then settling down to watch whatever the most recent Star Wars movie was.
Fantastic memories for me, memories I will cherish. I hope they will too.