The Great Edit

When my daughter was around a year old I would take her swimming every Saturday morning. We would drive to the small pool where we’d meet up with her best friend, many other small children and the assembled mums and dads. At first I was just along for the ride, but soon I chose to be in the water with her, watching her fantastic jumps into the pool and her not-so-good attempts at actually swimming. I used to say she’d make the world’s most tragic Olympic Diver.

When the fun in the pool was over we would get in the car and dive to Newbury, where there was a Borders store. Freya was happy to see all the books and toys and then we’d get in the lift and go upstairs for drinks and cakes.

Eventually the swimming courses ended and Borders closed down but Freya and I would talk about our Saturday mornings for a long time afterwards. At one point she invented a shop, like Borders and would tell me all about it. I would test her memory of the real place and the morning’s in the pool. Slowly, slowly the memories evaporated.

Yesterday, after not doing so for a long time, I asked her if she remembered the shop or our time spent there. Nothing. It’s all gone.

I’ve always been fascinated with how so much experience from growing up is edited down over time to a few memories. Imagine what a mess our brains would be if that didn’t happen? But having my own child gave me a chance to observe this.

I’m sure I’ve written this before here, but when people said to me how quickly these early years would fly by I would always respond that I’m felling and experiencing every day. To me, Freya’s first six years feel like they went by in six years, not five minutes. Every day with her has been amazing (albeit exhausting and frustrating in parts). For Freya though, the great edit is already happening.

I wonder what she will remember from these years.


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