Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Never Forget

I have to be very careful.  Kyle might remember what happens today.  The little guy is about a month and a half away from his third birthday, which means the memory factory is gearing up.  Chances are there will be an experience from now that will remain in his head for the rest of his life, the earliest memory that he might one day write about in school.  I sure hope it's not one of me smelling my armpits or tootin' in the kitchen.  I thought about that on Saturday morning, when we watched the royal wedding I had recorded the day before.  As Kyle pointed out the silly hats worn by the silly Brits, I suddenly realized that I was about his age when Charles and Diana were married... and I vaguely remember when that happened. 

Now, Kyle might not remember William and Kate or even those hats.  He might not remember our recent trip to North Carolina, or the moment he first saw his new toy box.  Yet something is bound to stick, right?  Maybe his first memory will be like mine, seeing one of his grandparents holding his baby brother.  Maybe he will remember something from a holiday, like Christmas or his birthday.  Or maybe his first memory will be that time when Daddy had food poisoning and made all those outrageous noises in the bathroom.  I wouldn't be surprised.  Kyle thought my illness was hilarious.

For the first couple of years, during my crash-course in parenting, I had taken some solace in the fact that Kyle wouldn't remember a thing.  Sure, I have documented some of my foibles, but the little guy probably won't read about them until years from now, and that's only if he discovers my website, which by then will no longer be devoted to stories about him, and will instead focus on 19th century Scandinavian shoe horns.  So, if Kyle doesn't read or remember much about these years, he will continue to view me as the brilliant dad who has always known how to do everything right.  But, again, now I have to be careful... or else Kyle will realize that I am actually "winging it." 

So there are many things that could end up being Kyle's first memory.  It could even happen any day now. Chances are, though, it won't have anything to do with the incredible news that broke this past weekend.  I doubt Kyle will remember the death of Osama bin Laden, since he had gone to bed hours before the TV networks first announced it.  I almost missed it myself.  We were getting ready for bed when I flipped on ESPN's SportsCenter and learned of the news through its crawl.  I quickly turned it to ABC and sat there in disbelief.  I, like many Americans, had started to believe that this day would never come.  And, yet, it did.

Osama bin Laden changed our lives, our country, and our world through terror.  He was an evil man who nearly escaped justice.  But now he can do no more harm. Osama bin Laden will be just a name in the history book Kyle reads at school.  Kyle won't hear any new threats from him.  He won't see any new video of him.  Of course he will learn a lot about 9/11, but now he will also be told that a group of brave Navy SEALs found the man behind that horrific day and made sure he couldn't take any more lives.  9/11 is still vivid in my mind, and I know I will never forget Osama bin Laden and all that he did.  But Kyle won't remember him at all, and I am extremely grateful for that.

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