When our oldest son was little, his father and I would take frequent trips to Northern Virginia, where my family is (at least the important part of it) and of course our son went with us. We toured the Smithsonian, the Capitol, watched the lighting of the White House Christmas tree, meandered around the Mall, climbed the Washington Monument, went to the zoo, attended mass at the Cathedral. You name it. Then this most important year came, his last year of middle school, and with it, the privilege of going to Washington on a field trip. We were a little surprised that when the field trip opportunity arose, BB pitched it to us as an experience of a lifetime. I feared those memories were to be treasured, but by his father and myself alone.
With thanks to his amazing grandparents, this 'opportunity of a lifetime' came to fruition for my son. I was excited for him to take this trip, convinced that as he experienced these breathtaking things, the memories would come back to him. I was sure that as he laid his hand of the wall, and felt the names etched in stone underneath his finger tips, he would remember. I thought for certain that as he gazed up at the airplanes that so fascinated him in his younger years, he would think about those times...that the memories would come flooding back. I was wrong.
It makes me want to weep with the heartache of it all. The holidays spent throwing snowballs, and watching the most important city in our nation light up with the festive colors, the sheer stubborn determination that he would exhibit when he insisted to feed the machine his own metro card. All those memories made with love, carried and cherished all these years aren't with him. They are only with us. It makes me wonder as each of my children grow older, what will be the important moments, and what will exist only as chicken soup for this mother's soul?