Preserve Your Memories

Yesterday, I was going to write a post.  It was going to be lighthearted, and would describe the rabbit hole I fell down while looking at old photos of the boys, ending up watching old home videos and crying in the manner of Clark Griswold locked in the attic.  “Mama go yo-yoga!” impossibly chubby, not quite two year old Jake exclaimed into the camera.  “Ha ha.  Jake a silly billy.”  Mark, climbing up a slide ladder at the playground, said “Mama, you meet me at other side, okay?” and my own voice answered him that yes, I would.  Later that evening I described the videos to my husband, tearfully saying “I should have enjoyed it more!”  He assured me that I DID enjoy it, to which I answered, irrationally, “But I should have enjoyed EVERY SECOND.”

Yesterday I was out all day until it was time to pick the boys up from school, early dismissal Friday.  I picked them up and took them to get their haircuts: their hair was brushing the tops of their ears, like total hippies.  While they sat in the chairs, getting the number three, finger length on top, I thought about the post I would write.  I would describe my heart aching with nostalgia from watching those videos, while appreciating that I could stand to the side at Beaners’, watching them calmly and like normal people getting their hair cut, happy that they never want to play in the germ-and-urine infested ball pit anymore.  The boys collected their lollipops and I paid for the haircuts.  We went home.  I sat down at the computer to write my post.

But first, I decided to take a look at the news.

I shut down my computer, putting it away without writing a word.  I called the boys upstairs and we watched Christmas Vacation together, the first time for them.  I smiled at them laughing hysterically at Clark falling off the roof and punching the plastic light-up Santa in the face.  I made them their favourite dinner – chicken fingers and oven fries – and I made myself my favourite dinner – Greek salad and pitas.  I allowed the boys to play Wii after dinner and we read a chapter of On The Banks of Plum Creek.  I drank three glasses of wine and went to bed.

It was a pleasant, and very ordinary, Friday.  But my heart ached for the people who would give anything for such an ordinary day.  My heart ached for the people who would fall down the rabbit hole looking at old photos and home videos, knowing that those old photos and home videos was all that was left them.


  1. Yes. Exactly this. I think I’m wearing the boys out because I want to do all the things with them. I found myself feeling guilty today for every cross word or exasperated feeling because oh, my precious boys, we live in as safe a place as it’s possible to live, really.

    We’re watching Christmas vacation tonight, for much the same reasons. I want to laugh, and I want to hear them laugh, too.

    Hugs to you. Your post is more gentle and less angry than mine was, written as it was all happening and I was helpless to walk away because I couldn’t process my grief and my rage.

  2. This is so achingly sad and beautiful.

  3. So beautifully written Nicole. Friday was a heartbreaking day…and every time I think about it… My sister lives an hour away from Newtown in CT…so I when I read the news I was searching for the name of the town praying it wasn’t their town because my niece is in grade 1. My prayers are with them all. On Friday night we got take out Sushi(our kids favourite) and watched Hoodwinked. They ran a little wild this weekend, a little sillier than usual. I indulged them a bit, bit my tongue when maybe I should’ve said something. I cherished listening to them play their made up games as they smiled and laughed and breathed.

Leave a Reply