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What are the moments we remember?

The leaves of memory seemed to make
A mournful rustling in the dark.  ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Ryan Piper, Kyle Piper, Heather Piper - 7/30/01
Me, Ryan and new born baby Kyle. Latrobe Hospital 7/30/01

Guaranteed, everyone has a memory, good, bad or indifferent, stretching from childhood to the present.  What makes the memory memorable?  Is it total tragedy?  Is it complete bliss? Is it the number of people who know the memory? Is it the small moments that resonate in our hearts and minds or is it the moments that are as large as life?

Karl Rove in Courage and Consequence wrote about his memories from childhood through his White House years.  He wrote an entire chapter about 9/11, which most people remember or at least have heard the tragedy that was placed upon our country.  He described the moments with detail and sincerity, as he should.  That is a memory, which affects some differently than others, depending on how close to home this tragedy hit.  Granted the country was in shock but there were different levels of anger, sadness, etc.  What really stood out in my head is the memory he had when George W. Bush won his first election against Al Gore.  After all the legal crap and finger pointing and trying to figure out the winner (even though it was evident from the beginning) he remembered hearing the news of G.W.’s win on TV from his hotel room.  He remembers the room, what he was wearing, what he was feeling.  I believe it’s those little moments that really help shape a person, especially if we are intuitive enough to pay attention.

Ryan, Nicole, Heather Piper with my cat Morticia
Ryan, Me, Nicole with my cat Morticia. Morticia was the best cat... besides Pudd'in

There is no doubt that Narrow doesn’t know life without me in it or my parents and my sister.  We have been an integral part of his life since he was born, literally.  I was there at the hospital when he was wheeled in with his dad, smiling so proudly.   I remember holding that little bundle of baby that wouldn’t open his eyes.  As we sat rocking in the room, Narrow kept bringing his thumb to his mouth.  He managed to work his hand out of all those layers of blankets to try and suck his thumb.  My reaction was to keep pushing the hand back under the blankets until his dad said to leave him alone.  I told my brother, “He’s lucky I’m here, stopping a bad habit from starting.”  And you know what? He never sucked his thumb!

And then there’s the moments that may not mean anything to anyone but to that one person.  For Kyle’s 9th birthday my parents bought him a 14’ trampoline.  They gave it to him well before his birthday so we could enjoy it all summer (beginning of July).  After we put it together, Kyle and I jumped all Saturday night and then on Sunday after church, which was a very hot Sunday.  Jumping on a big black surface under the direct sunlight does not work well with me.  But Narrow, being the brilliant inventor that he is, hooked up the sprinkler to the hose and placed it inside the trampoline.  You see, Kyle wanted to jump more and he knew the heat was killing me, so he created a solution.  We had a blast jumping around the sprinkler on the very, very, very hot summer day.  We jumped the better part of the day until we ate dinner and I had to take him home.  Of course I remember how smart and inventive that little boy was that day, but he remembered something else.  He told me in the car on the ride home, “Thank you for jumping with me, Aunt Heather.”  That statement made me realize that the simple act of jumping and having fun really meant something to him.

Kyle Piper lost his second tooth Heather Piper
I plucked Kyle's second tooth

This past Halloween it was snowing pretty good.  I decided to plug in Michael Jackson for the Wii.  Kyle joined me and we had a blast jumping around the living room dancing with the King of Pop.  We were laughing and running into one another.  Seven didn’t know what to make of us.  He kept jumping up, thinking we were playing with him.  All the while, Scooby just sat there an gave us the look that we were a bunch of idiots.  We both broke a sweat and I think I pulled a muscle.  You know, the minute I walked in the house last Friday night, Kyle said, “Aunt Heather, let’s dance to Michael Jackson!”

Kyle doesn’t remember when he was little and we used to have Dance Party.  It was something I made up when my parents weren’t home.  We would get glow sticks, turn out all the lights and turn on the music station on the TV.  We would dance around the living room for hours.  I’m sure if someone was to look in on us from the big picture window in the living room, we would look like a bunch of monkeys having a party with glow sticks.

I rarely remember my life before Narrow. In fact, most of my memories of life involve him… good, bad or indifferent.  I guess that is what’s truly important to me, my Narrow.

Published inCommon SenseEducation & LearningFamilyMilestoneObservation & ImaginationReminiscing

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