In psychology classes, we often talk about our first recollections. What was going on? What was your role? Were you the star of the show? The big brother or sister? The princess? The baby? What was going on? What emotions did you feel? Were you happy, sad, glad, mad, scared, or what? Who was there? Perhaps more importantly, who wasn’t? Some psychologists feel that these first memories are important in that they reveal something about our relationships, our roles, and our life themes.
Most of the time our first memories are of something that took place around 2 and a half or 3 years of age. Mine involves my brother Mike, my buddy who just happens to having a birthday today. I was around 3, so he must have been a year old, and we were sitting in the back seat of a car. Our mother was driving, and she wheeled the car into a parallel parking spot on Broad Street near First Baptist Church. She turned to us and said something like, “I’ll be right back. MaMa (our maternal grandmother) will be here with you.” With that, she got out of the car and walked into a building. Mike began to cry…and then cry some more. Our grandmother seemed unconcerned, and aside from saying, “Don’t cry. Your mother’s coming back in a minute,” she offered little solace. Big, strong sister that I was, I put my arm around him and also assured him that our sweet mama would be back momentarily.
That’s it. I remember nothing before or after the incident. I do know, however, that our mother came back and that she and my father spent their lives being good parents, the kind who walked the talk. One lesson in particular was “to keep on keeping on” when the going got tough. Mike’s going through a tough time right now, and as his big sister I hope he’ll remember our parents’ perseverance and strength as he endures this trial.