What are the images held deeply and eternally in your mind? Which are true memories and which are memories from photographs? Sometimes I fear that much of what I remember comes from the split second someone held a small machine up - its eye to their eye - and let the shutter open on that moment in time. What about the rest of time when no one did that? What remains?
Which memories are real and true and which are changed with time? Or does it matter? My father is 85 years old and he tells stories of his youth with such clarity, his face filled with the emotion of that moment. He's feeling the impact again - 50, 60, 70 years later.
Memories are attached to emotions. How did it feel to wake up on Christmas morning as a child? (How did it feel when your mother said - it's 5 am - go back to bed!) How did it feel as the front tire of your first two-wheel bike hit a bump and you lost control, or to kiss the person you would marry for the first time, or to see a beloved grandparent in a casket? How did it feel to unwrap the blanket on your newborn child and try to comprehend that you had any part in creating a miracle?
We remember these moments because we remember how they felt, good or bad. It's, of course, all relative, good and bad. You can't have one without the other. I don't live in the past or dwell on regrets (much) but sometimes I allow myself to recall emotionally devastating moments in my life, and I recognize how far I've come and what I learned from those experiences.
The only thing I fear is not remembering my children's childhood and youth. It went so fast. Sometimes they recall things that I don't and we can share that. When they were small I didn't have much money, and film and developing were not always in the budget. A video camera was out of the question. But when I start wishing things had been different - I remember - I have THEM. My amazing son and daughter. That's what matters now. I still have them and we're still making memories.