The other day my Mom called me when I was in the middle of trying to get Annabel to eat her breakfast instead of use it to create abstract art.
“You know who I woke up thinking about?” Mom asked. “David.”
“You know. David.”
“From the bible?”
“No. David! Your best friend.”
“Unless I fell down and hit my head this morning, Mom, I’m pretty sure I don’t have a best friend named David.”
“Sure you do. From the second grade!”
“You woke up thinking about a kid I hung around with more than a QUARTER CENTURY AGO?”
“He was so interested in swimming. I wonder if he swam competitively later in life.”
“I can’t remember him ever talking about swimming.”
“Oh, he loved it. Because his father was a swimmer. Grandfather too!”
“If you say so.”
“Whatever happened to him?”
“I have no idea, Mom. I haven’t seen the guy since before ‘We Are The World’ came out.”
“Monica says there’s no way that kid is still alive.”
“Well, he did like to jump out of trees. I remember that much.”
“I think I’m going to look him up on the Internet.”
“You do that, Mom. And for the record? I think it’s weird you remember my childhood way more than I do.”
After I hung up I told Heather about my mom’s call. She laughed and said her mom also remembered things from her childhood that she herself had long forgotten. Many parents are this way, it turns out, and I can understand why – since becoming a parent myself the most interesting things to happen in my life have happened because of my girls.
There are two reasons for this. The first is because my girls are the da bomb. The second is because we parents dedicate ourselves so deeply to giving our kids a great life that we often set aside – or simply have little time for – our own life.
Growing up I hardly ever remember my parents doing things for themselves, and four years into this parenting gig I can see myself getting that way too. Hobbies and friends have gotten a lot less attention than they did before the girls. It’s tough. I want to invest myself in my kids’ lives as much as possible, but I don’t want to lose track of my own life either.
In an ideal world, twenty-five years from now I will call Annie and ask her about some kid she doesn’t remember, and then she will turn right around and ask me about someone or something from my own life that I have long since forgotten.