I’m not sure how four months have passed since I last posted, but 2016 has been flying by! Throughout Trimester 3 I’ve been teaching a Creative Writing/Photography enrichment encouraging students to learn to tell stories with both their words and pictures. The fun thing is that I get to write along with them. In my next few posts I’ll share pieces that I wrote with my students. The first: a childhood memory essay.
Memories are like clouds. They are wispy and whimsical; they take different shapes as time passes. They are ominous and threatening; we hope they do not erupt into a thunderstorm. We want to bounce around on the cotton candy clouds and hide our faces from the strong winds that propel the storm.
Thankfully, the changing skyscape of my childhood is mostly comprised of cotton candy. There is, however, one point of memory contention in my family.
I remember coming home from kindergarten on a bright, sunny winter day. There was fresh snow that covered my boots and the untouched snow was inviting me to run and jump and play. The clouds were billowy and moving across the sky like the dinosaur and train and kangaroo that I imagined them to be. I trudged up the driveway toward my house and decided to skip the hot chocolate and spend some time staring at the clouds. I flopped down in the snow, made a snow angel, carefully stood up, and flopped down to make another. I rolled a snowman that matched the snowball clouds in the sky.
Then I looked up and saw my mom staring at me through the kitchen window. “You forgot about gymnastics,” she mouthed. Tuesday. Gymnastics day. It was already too late. I ran inside and my mom said, “honey, I don’t think you care that much about gymnastics. This is the second class you missed.”
Just like that, my gymnastics career ended before I even had time to outgrow my purple, lace lined leotard.
Here’s where memory gets interesting. I remember each vivid detail of that Tuesday afternoon. I remember diving headfirst into the foam pit at gymnastics. I remember being the only one in my class who could stand on the low bar and jump up to the high bar. I remember stepping and dipping my way across the balance beam.
My mother remembers none of it.
My mother – the keeper of receipts, the driver, the taker of photos, the purchaser of said leotard, swears this never happened and that I was never an aspiring gymnast.
So whose memory is correct? Without proof and after the passing of 25 years, how do we dig in and find out? Did my Olympic aspirations and idolization of Dominique Moceanu create this dream gymnastics world in all its glory? Or did my mom just simply forget about this short endeavor into a girly world that would be quickly drowned out by basketball, softball, and soccer.
Does it matter?
To me, it doesn’t. The memory is as sweet as cotton candy and as real as the wispy clouds in the sky. Whether it’s true or not, it’s part of me and it makes for a good story.
Besides, I know I’m right.