When I was five years old, I was adopted. It’s something I’ve known about all my life, as my parents were always open and honest with me. Adoption is something that has never bothered me as it has always been a part of who I am.
As my daughter approaches five, my feelings about my adoption and my past have shifted. I had never thought about my earlier years—the life I had lived before I was five. My life with my adopted parents was so wonderful, and the memories so vivid and precious, that I had never even thought to venture deeper into the memories of my previous years.
I have recently reunited with my biological father, and he loves to share stories about our earlier days together - how I acted, what we did together, and things I said and did. I love hearing his stories, and reuniting with someone who made me is surreal, but what bothers me is that I don’t have any recollection of those earlier times. I can’t remember anything from before I was five.
I think the trauma of being uprooted to a new family at such an early age--without the stories, photos and consistency required to retain the memories of my earlier life--accounts for why I don’t have those memories today. My childhood memories from age five on are still vivid in my mind because my parents made sure that I remembered the special moments that we’ve shared.
In the last (almost) five years, my daughter and I have created so many special memories together; we have developed an indescribable bond, and enjoyed so many new experiences as mother and daughter. The fact that I can’t remember any of those years from my own life suddenly leaves me feeling incomplete, and insecure about the memories my daughter will have when she’s my age. Will she remember the times we’ve shared together up until now? Will the memories I’ve created for her fade and become forgotten once she’s grown?
I’m going to do my best to ensure that my children remember everything. I’m going to re-tell stories, I’m going to take hundreds of pictures, and I’m going to ensure that they are always surrounded by loving and supportive people as they grow. I want them to remember everything, and I pray that they will.
Tips for creating and maintaining childhood memories
- Tell stories. Most children grow up with parents who retell stories of when they were young. Silly stories, sad stories, detailed stories that keep their memories fresh in their minds. Tell your children stories to maintain the memories and keep the details vivid.
- Bring out the family photos. Surrounding your children with photos of their early days, their memorable moments, and the special people in their lives will keep the images alive in their minds, and will allow them to recall those images in the future.
- Maintain connections. Surrounding your child with a loving and constant support system definitely keeps the mind fresh and the memories vivid. It’s easier to retain early memories when the people who were present in your life at those times are still present in your life today.
Bianca Bujan is a mom and sports marketing and sponsorship professional by day, and a blogger in her spare time. Follow Bianca’s blog Bits of Bee at bitsofbee.blogspot.com.