Memory tales

08-11-2013 02:59 PM

Ammon News - Jordan times - When our daughter was small, her favourite hobby was listening to stories. More than having fairytales read out to her, what she preferred was a glimpse into my own past. She longed to know everything about me as a child, and her most persistent plea used to be “Your story Mom, please”.

And a promise of that retelling would get her charged up and she would complete her nightly rituals in double quick time. Dinner swallowed, teeth brushed, bath finished and hair combed, she would present herself to me like a sweet little angel. She would insist I lie next to her in the turned down bed, and clasping my wrist tightly in her little hand she would stare dreamily into space before making her choices.

Like a storybook has chapters, she had divided my early years also into similar sections. So, the decision to make her mom aged three, four, five or six depended on her. For some strange reason she would never venture away from these four ages that she wanted to share her mother’s childhood with. And now that I think about it, I also never inquired why it was these four years of my infancy that fascinated her the most.

But she was simply captivated and listened with rapt attention, sometimes even forgetting to blink. The first five to ten minutes would be spent in a warm-up which was usually like a prologue. She would say, for instance, “Mommy, today I want to hear the story of when you were four and went to that picnic in a bus.” If I tried to feign forgetfulness she would start off the tale in her childish treble, prompting me at the right moments to recount the story, word for word.

She was a smart child and never allowed me to take poetic liberties. So if I flung a bottle of orange juice at someone in a particular story, it could not become apple juice at the next narration. A sharp reprimand with a “silly mummy” would greet me if I ever made even the minutest change to the script. I had to acknowledge the slip and make immediate amends.

If nothing else, this daily mental exercise kept my memory in a razor sharp condition. At the of a hat I could remy past life for the delightful entertainment of my little one.

Our daughter’s all time favourite story was of her mom aged four. This was when I had taken part in a fancy dress competition and one neighbourhood aunt had dressed me up as a child bride. Her own son, a thin and scrawny chap, was playacting as my bridegroom.

So, in all my bridal finery when I marched on stage I was instantly awarded the first prize but being one half of a team I had to share it with my groom. What I got was a seashell keychain but what the chap received was a beautiful long pencil with a back-scratching attachment to it.

It is exactly at this point of the story that our daughter would start screeching with laughter.

“So, what did you do Mom?” she would ask.

“I snatched the pencil from the boy and told him if he cried I would give him a bucket to collect his tears in,” I would say.

“Because a crybaby’s best friend is?” I would leave the question hanging.

“A bucket!” our little missy would conclude clapping her hands.

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