Do you remember the time? I don’tPublished 12:18am Friday, June 21, 2013
Does having children cause forgetfulness?
It must, because lately I have realized how much I’ve forgotten between childhood and adulthood.
In the past couple of weeks I have discovered how much I have let disappear into the back recesses of my brain that I wish I had kept in the forefront.
This forgetfulness has nothing to do with momentary lapses of memory — where I put my car keys, what I need from the grocery store or the name of the person I just met on the street.
This amnesia is more long-term and stealthy. The busyness of adulthood clearly is at issue. Absentmindedness might play a part. I didn’t know, in fact, that I’d suffered the loss until recently when I discovered the cure.
And the cure it seems is just watching my child live life.
I realized this last week when my family went to the Vidalia Riverfront for a quick bite to eat one evening. We picked up supper and headed to a picnic table to enjoy the river, the breeze and a little time together.
I have crossed the Mississippi River thousands of times in the thirteen years I have lived in Natchez and visited the Vidalia Riverfront countless times.
In his four years, my son has visited the riverfront many times, too, but the first sight of the bridges as we top the levee always elicits an “ooh” and an “ahh” from the back seat.
Between bites of his burger, Gibson intently watched all that was happening. He stood transfixed as a barge pushed its load upstream. He waved eagerly at fishermen on the river. He crouched down to inspect a stream of ants carrying crumbs along the sidewalk.
All was a fascination. None of it was boring.
“It must be amazing to be four years old, when everything you see is new,” I said to my wife as I watched our son’s attention move from one interest to the next.
The thought made me wonder how much I have forgotten how to live in the present.
Two weeks ago, Gibson turned four years old. As other people have pointed out, it is amazing how fast they grow up. What is more amazing to me, is how much I have learned from this little human being. Many of the lessons he has taught me in these fours years, I already knew from childhood. I had just forgotten them.
Watching Gibson has helped me relearn that it is important to say hello to everyone you meet on the street, without worrying about who people are or what they are thinking, and not to stress if people do not say hello in return.
In his four years, Gibson has taught me that a song can make almost anyone smile — especially if you get the words wrong. The pig’s houses can be blown down by a big bad elephant just as easily as a wolf.
Thanks to my son, I have relearned that coloring in the lines is important, but that coloring outside the lines is no big deal. In fact, it can be so much more fun.
I have rediscovered how to use my imagination to transform any boring situation in to something wonderful and exciting.
I have relearned that everything is better after a nap and that we all have times when we need to rest and recharge.
Gibson has helped me rediscover that being together, listening to the rain from the back porch or watching the lightning in the distance is better than any movie on Netflix will ever be.
In fact, he has taught me that there is nothing better than being together, period.
Thank goodness he has helped me remember.
Ben Hillyer is design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or email@example.com.