I was telling my daughter, Olivia, about how she used to sit in my lap and copy me.
When I said, “AYYYY.” She said, “AYYYY.”
I said, “Beeee.”
And she said, “Beeee.”
You get where this is going, so we won’t run through the entire alphabet. Although, it’s worth mentioning that my favorite letter from her was “Eeffff” because she said it with a saucy shake of her head.
The other night she didn’t remember those alphabet lessons on our couch at the old house on Blair Street.
“Not at all?” I said.
She shook her head, and I thought, I need to keep telling her the story.
I don’t know the ethical implications of planting memories that already should be there, and I don’t really care. It’d take a mountain of scientific evidence to get me to stop.
Those alphabet days mean a lot to me, and I’d like her to know about them. Call it dad’s privilege.
One of the games we sometimes play at the dinner table is “Tell me a beach memory,” where someone does exactly that.
For example, we get to relive our boogie-board-palooza experience from summer 2012, when a good, tiring time was had by all.
Variations on the game include “Tell me a Nana and Grandpa Fay memory” and “Tell me a Grandma and Pops memory.”
Again, you get the point, but I need to add “Tell me a Granddad memory” because it’s just good policy to give grandparents equal mention.
The memory game passes the time at the table, and it’s often a trusty distraction when the kids are squabbling.
I suppose the game is my attempt to reinforce the good times we’ve had as a family so they’re firmly anchored.
Anxiety probably drives it on some level. We never know how long we’ll have together. A day could come when we can’t make new memories. That’d hurt more than I want to contemplate, but life would go on. Hopefully, it’d go on with as much of the good stuff as possible.
I don’t care to anchor the bad stuff, which every family has. That is, I’m assuming every family has run through its share of emotional minefields.
I figure those memories will stick no matter what I do, which might be another reason to focus on the positive when the moment allows.
One of my favorite implanted memories for my daughter is one that never went away. We’ve repeated it since it happened.
Olivia was dressed as a bee for Halloween, and at one of the last houses when her pumpkin bag was filled with candy, she said, “I a bee. I scary.”
Good gracious, mercy me, if I’m fortunate enough to attend her wedding someday, I’ll stand with my glass raised high and a tear in my eye and toast the scariest bee a father’s ever had the privilege to escort through childhood.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.