Oh! So that’s what one of those is like…

A lot of my childhood memories are a bit blurry. I do have quite a few specific memories of incidents, but mostly the memories are generic: my pink and green bedroom; walking to the pool in summer; playing the flute in the school band; swinging in the hammock under the mulberry tree with a stack of comic books.

My first memory, though, is quite specific and vivid. Train of thought follows:

“Well, here we are, in the loungeroom with Mum and Dad and those nice people who come to visit sometimes. They’re paying lots of attention to me and laughing and happy, which is good. Wait, Mum seems to have gone…Where is she? I’ll just reach around and look behind my back here…oh, there she is, in the kitchen. Mum? Mum? What ya doing? That looks interesting, I think I’ll come and join you. Hey! Stop! Lemme go! I’m a kid, you can’t stop me from going to see my mum. She’s my mum, I’m a kid, I have a right to be with my mummy ANY TIME I WANT. You’re making me feel sad and mad, stop stopping me. I need to go into the kitchen, I need my mummy now…now. MUMMY! MUMMY! They’re stopping me crawling into the kitchen where you are. I need you, why are they stopping me? I’m going to cry, really, really loud because I’m a bit scared and angry. Huh? What? What are you singing? What’s that thing you’re carrying? It’s pretty, and it’s got a flickery thing on it, and you’re singing something like ‘…happy…day…you…dear Aili’… Hang on, this feels familiar. This feels like that thing…what is it? Oh yeah! A birthday! That’s that thing that I heard about and wished I’d had one so I knew what it was like! A birthday! Now I can say I’ve had a birthday! Yay! Oh yeah, so that’s why they wouldn’t let me into the kitchen…birthdays are about surprises!”

So, yep…that was my first birthday. I wasn’t so eloquent as a one year old, but that’s a pretty fair rendering of my first concrete memory.


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