I’ve learned that I have an unusually good memory for details. Blogged about that before. I can remember voice inflection, facial expression, time of day, and exact transcripts for conversations I had 35 years ago.
(Not all of the conversations I had 35 years ago. But I can remember a surprising number of them if I sit down and consider a specific person, and try to recall my interactions with him/her. I remember women better. Make of that what you will.)
When I train my memory upon how I felt as a child—just my frame of mind sitting around—I’m becoming increasingly confident that I recall it as better than it was. I mean, I must. It’s just like any other emotionally significant piece of your past. My mother’s been gone for 13 years, and though I had genuine disconnects with her, they’re steadily harder to summon. It’s much easier to remember the ways she made me laugh than it is the ways she made me cry.
When I do try to recall how things were in my head, it’s often in a parenting context. What sticks with me? What do I want to stick with Nathan and Aaron?
I’ve decided it doesn’t much matter how rosy my glasses are looking back.
If I’m shooting for a feeling today, who cares whether it was real or imaginary yesterday?