Here is Mlle. F., putting herself to bed, as is her custom, by pulling her muslin wrap come sheet up over her face and snuffling away to slumber. I hope I remember it fondly forever. I know she won’t, she’s still two years and three months away from that magical measure of three years old, when most of our earliest memories are found.
But, sometimes, on a Friday night, after I’ve come home, collapsed into the favoured Jungle-Gym-of-Dad position to be clambered over, slobbered on and otherwise attacked; after that, having dragged myself to the fridge and happily (over a few beers), sipped away my sobriety, I find myself reminiscing of my own Dad.
It is a favoured and recurring memory of being driven home, falling asleep on the right hand side of the back seat (my sister always on the left) of a Mark V Cortina, I’d usually stir when we parked in the driveway at home. I’d desperately pretend to be asleep, clinging onto the pretence. My sister would stir and walk to the house, and my Dad, oh my Dad, he would agree with Mum that he’d carry me up to the house. And there I am, in my memory, in my Dad’s arms with booze on his breathe, carrying my little body into the house. I cherish the memory.
Mum is there too, in my favourite memories, so many, but - play dough, home made play dough. Always salty, blue, play dough, upon command…
So I wonder what my own wee bean will remember!
She won’t remember her and I dancing around to Charles Bradley today, but she loved it. Giggling and flapping her hands to her goofy Dad’s funkless bouncing and hip popping around the drawing room.
She won’t remember me standing over her cot, one hand on the turned brass bed knob, legs trembling at the awkward stance of having to reach down and stroke her tummy, to calm her from an angry waking; my own boozy breath on the shushing noise she responds to.
She won’t remember the tumbling sessions: I can still pick her up from her hips and front flip her before catching her under the arms, she squeals and giggles, her eyes bright with delight. And we practice our twists too: one hand under her head and neck, the other under her wee bum, “one, two (preemptive squeal), THREE!” as I rock her back and forth preparing her for the toss and on three she’s up, twisting, and caught in exactly the was she started: much to her delight.
I wonder what she’ll remember, and I hope with all I am that I never forget what we’ve done so far.