There’s a faded yellow paper tucked into the back pocket of my baby book,  worn soft from the rereadings.  Mom must’ve grabbed the nearest legal pad when she perched on the top step, right outside the bedroom my sister and I shared, and transcribed our conversation.

June 6, 1982 “A Reminder” 
Jenny and Katie “swam” without water wings today.
Katie has worn “biggies” for three days in a row, wearing diapers only to sleep.
Tonight at bedtime we read a story, as usual, and after all the hugs and kisses and marking off a day on Jenny’s calendar, I eavesdropped from the stairs.  Katie in her bed, Jenny in her bed.
J: Goodnight, Katie.
K: Goodnight, Jenny... pause... Jenny, I don’t like you.
J: Yes you do!
K: No. I want you to say sticks and bones.
J: I’ll say it two times and that’s it: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me (sung slowly, twice)
K: Jenny, I still don’t like you.
J: Katie, I’m not saying it anymore, I’m asleep!

The words are from a time I don't much remember, and it’s a blast to get a tiny glimpse of myself when I was about Tuck's age. I remember lots about my childhood, the days when the television remote crossed the room on a cord and the laser printer was the size of luggage and the computer screen only displayed shades of green.  But I don't really remember me.

Sometimes I question why I spend so much time writing and posting photographs, although it does cheer me to scroll through the events of the year and to be reminded that our family is richly blessed.  This place is like a baby book, a memoir of the most incredible years of our lives.
There are doubtless better stories than the ones I write, events I’ve missed recording or escapades I’m not wise enough to have known are important for posterity.  But writing forces me to notice details, provides an enchanting way to trick myself into being present. 
Recently Tucker said Mama, I need you to come down in the basement with me because it’s dark down there. 
I can come in a just a minute Buddy, or you can be brave and walk to the bottom of the steps and turn on more lights.
Okay Mama, I will, but can you watch me be brave all the way to the bottom.

Tuck may not remember the paper fan he wedged between forks and spoons in the silverware drawer, or the pretend pocket watch he keeps careful track of, or the "mamifying glass" he took to the grocery to inspect all the fruit, but I want to.  He won't know that we temporarily lost some important paperwork from the mail pile because he shoved it into his own manilla envelope of "important things."  He might forget the details of his little boy-hood, that he has the appetite of a wild animal, the verbal skills of a professional public speaker, the soul of a poet.  He won't realize how brave he's always been.  Unless he, hopefully, cares to read here someday.  And if he doesn't, I always will.


rht said...

Scraps of yellow paper from so many legal pads... old school blogging. I like this better, and I love all the pictures of your family.

Poppy John said...

Kate Baby,

Isn't it a violation of FCC law to record a conversation without giving prior notification to the participants?

You must feel so violated. Bless your heart.


P.S. I never liked Jenni very much either.