I need to remember this. This is always how I have affixed memories in my mind, by freezing time for a split second, stepping outside of myself, and consciously fixing a time, a place, a feeling, in my head. I have memories of a cafe in Paris, a trattoria in Rome, the first time my husband kissed, the first time we made love. The feel of the air, the smell of the walls or the wind, the ambient light; I can recall these circumstances and settings, and take myself back, not only to the time, but the feel of these memories.
And now, I need to remember my daughter, A-. The size she is now, as she sleeps on my chest, her head tucked into my neck. Her arms are draped down either side of my breasts, and her head is cocked back at that angle that can only be comfortable to a baby, whose bones still remember the weightlessness of the womb. I cannot see her face, only her ear, visible when I tuck my chin to my chest. Her weight, at once solid and slight, weighty and fragile. It is the knowledge that she changes from one moment to the next, as her chest rises and falls with each breath, that makes her seem so ephemeral. Her cheek, chin, hand, are so soft, as I run my fingers over them. I remember the feel of her mouth on my breast, the substance and sustanence I offer her each time she feeds. I bend my cheek to hers, kiss her face, breathe her sweet, familiar smell. The warm glow of the dim lights in our home and the cooler lights from the television combine in a familiar glow, particular to this room. My husband's arm and leg are pressed against mine, and my free hand and his reach for each other but do not clasp. They pass over each other lightly, tracing lines and calluses, bone and flesh, in that manner bred by intimacy. It is just we three here and now.
I am so afraid that I will forget this moment. It happens, I know, because our two grown cats, our first children, laze about this room with us, and I was their when they were born, and have watched them grow. My mind knows that they were once tiny balls of fuzzy hair and clouded eyes, and yet my heart cannot remember that they fit in the palm of my hand. I reach for that memory, knowing that it existed, and yet it eludes me.
I cannot let that happen with A-. And so I sit, after the moment has passed, and commit this memory to writing. To the solid black and white of words. I hope that this writing is more trustworthy than my slippery mind and heart, which can only see the present beauty. I need to remember this.