How great it would be to recall long ago events so clearly. Unfortunately, I remember very little. My sister seems to recollect things from our childhood so much better than me. My wife has hundreds of little cositas around our house that remind her of some special times in her life. I’m not one to collect things, I’m terrible at taking pictures and I don’t surround myself much with mementos. It’s never been like me to look back on the past all that much.
Not that I’m without knowing the joy of driving down memory lane. The view out the window is just so fleeting. It whizzes by in a blur that I can barely make out. Moreover, I’m jealous of people who get that euphoric look when they remember the sweetness of a particularly joyous day. They seem to have it so at hand, so close, as if that gratifying moment were precisely replaying out in front of them, a fragrant bloom leaving them with an all-day smile.
Perhaps some deep-seated coping mechanism in my psychological make-up, a knee-jerk reflex, my memory bank just resets to the present and spinning those blasts from the past is increasingly illusive. Generally, I’ve made peace with it. I’m used to it and I suppose I really don’t mind all that much when it comes to recalling my childhood.
That impediment, however, is harder to take when it comes to my son’s. A junior in high school now, his graduation is around the proverbial corner. It seems like yesterday I played Captain Hook to his Peter Pan. Leaving his boyhood in a whirl of memories, each day he’s growing into a terrific young man, yet, it’s flying by so fast I can hardly breathe.
Chances are the chip inside my head will continue to fog and clutter with incessant PIN numbers and passwords, taking the space that should be there for my son’s sixth (or seventh.. or eighth?) birthday when Mr. Reptile’s wallaby scared all the tias out of their chairs, frenetically hopping around our backyard on the brink of escape into an unsuspecting neighborhood.
I’m thrilled that his life is about to get bigger, taking him to places unforeseen. I just want the moving-picture-show of his life so far to play out inside my head at the touch of a button, in full cinemascope, totally unabridged and pure. I want every single minute of his childhood on a loop I can play any time I want, forever available. I’d happily surrender a hundred of mine just to remember one of his. Is that so much to ask?
About the Author: Joe Cepeda grew up in East Los Angeles, California. He is the illustrator of many awarding-winning picture books including Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison, What a Truly Cool World by Julius Lester, a Family Life Magazine Top 10 Best Books of the Year, a Family Fun Critic’s Choice, and BCCB Blue Ribbon Book, Mice and Beans by Pam MuÑoz Ryan, and Gracias the Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley which was an American Bookseller Pick of the Lists.