The new year has now officially begun for me, now that both of my sons have had their birthdays. Having them so close to turn of the year seems to stretch out the liminal time of the holidays.
This morning I was thinking again of their births. I was very blessed to have a conscious, no-drugs, natural birth with both of them. This year we moved away from the home where Eli was born. The saddest part of leaving that place was not being reminded each time I walked into the kitchen of the miracle of this birth. I was reminded again this morning of how I lost some of the memories of their births when I had a hysterectomy. I had always suspected that certain physical memories are stored in your body - my experience after the surgery confirmed that for me. Prior to the surgery, whenever I thought of that time, the muscles of my body would respond with little twinges of memory. Birth is such an intense physical event and it seems to have been written on my body. I still have bodily memories of birth, but unsurprisingly most of those memories were stored in my uterus and cervix. None of my medical care providers warned me of the potential loss - I don't think they were aware that there would be any loss (and they were more concerned with saving my life). We are so accustomed to thinking that our "selves" are stored in our heads. Yet there is a reason that traditionally people thought their souls were stored in their hearts.
But the loss of a layer of those memories has not meant a loss of love or connection to my boys. I was deeply worried that it would at first. Now I realize that my memories of them are actually only a small part of my love for them. I enjoy their present 5 and 7 year old selves more than their baby selves. I love babies, but they don't talk. And I like talking. My boys surprise me every day with the things they say, the thoughts they put out there for me to see. I have no desire to "rewind them to a baby" as my Mom used to quote my brother Vic as saying. The boys present selves are the ones currently most precious to me. And I am so glad for that.
Let us quote Master Ugway shall we (from Kung Fu Panda):
The Past is History, Tomorrow a Mystery, but Today is a Gift,
That's why we call it "the Present."