Erica, on Memory. Sling Diaries, Vol VII.

January 03, 2018

The Sling Diaries, Volume VII. A photo-documentary chronicling the art of baby wearing in the lives of families around the world. Over the course of six months, Sling Diarists will create their own Sling Diary though a series of diary entries interpreting a unique theme given to them each month.

Meet all of our Sling Diarists here.

ON MEMORY 

“To be human is to have a collection of memories that tells who you are and how you got there.”- Rosecrans Baldwin

It squished up between our toes and we giggled uproariously the entire time. Teetering on creative play and mischievous action, we happily created an entire menu of mud food: mud pies, mud sandwiches, mud birthday cakes, and mudshakes, and mud crackers, and mud cookies. Mud plastered from our toes to our heads. Thick and gooey, we imagined it as the yummiest of chocolate. We were having a blast! Even down to the freezing hose shower we had to receive to re-enter the house. I mean, we were covered with stinky farm mud. 😆

This memory has stayed with me my entire adult life. I will never forget spending the day in knee deep mud pretending for hours and hours with my cousin. Nor all the countless memories of growing up wild and free with my siblings. Creating forts deep in the woods, hung high in the tops of swaying pines, using the dirt to cover the sap so our hands weren’t sticky. The endless walks through new neighborhoods each time we moved to find and make new friends. Our secret languages, the quarrels, the squabbles, and all the made-up games.

And I can still distinctly remember the last time I played with my little sisters. I was 16 and they were 10, 8, and 6.  They were overjoyed that I was playing with them, which I thought was odd at the time. But now, when I watch my 17 year old who has seemingly forgotten the art of play rekindle his passion for make believe with siblings who are 7, 4, and 20 months…. I can see exactly why my sisters were so excited when I joined them on the playground. The memories created when deep in exploration, the memories found tucked into the folds of playtime, the moments bound in the closeness of cooperation are EVERYTHING.

As a parent, I feel this strange sensation as I watch my children live these moments. These moments that are creating them. That will be etched into their expression of self.

I can remember so much about my childhood and I have never been more aware of how those experiences shaped who I am as an adult, how I live, how I fear, how I love than I am right now. And I get a catch in my throat when I allow the magnitude of these seemingly mundane moments to measure up. Each one, each tiny memory is creating someone’s life, someone’s story….and these stories are that of my own children.

As I watch them explore with their cousin who is visiting from the city for the holidays, I allow these thoughts to marinate. I imagine them as adults, re-creating these very experiences for their own children… my grandchildren. I think about how this short jaunt into the bitter cold as so much more than what it seems. It is family bonding, wrapped in the comfy bulk of winter garments, cheeks rosy, nose running. Feet sliding through damp snowfall, hands holding smaller hands, laughter meeting snowflakes. Dogs stealing gloves, tears kissed away, warming bones around a crackling fire with mugs of frothy hot chocolate. Piled into one bed, reading stories and playing games, melting into piles of love.

I’ll never know which of these moments they will carry into forever, which of these tales will become woven into the fabric of their story. If hot chocolate will ever bring thoughts of childhood or if snow flurrying will conjure images of happiness & family. But I find comfort in knowing that found in the simple art of living are the memories that birth the stories of being human. It doesn’t take anything special, no profound magic, nothing that sparkles and shines, it doesn’t take loads of money…. it just takes people living together to create memories that last lifetimes. It just takes us, you and I, to make a collection of memories that become the stories of people’s lives.

How amazing is that?! That your presence, your touch, your laugh, your scent (I know, you’re scent 😮) layers the moments that build into memories that chapter into books that blossom into lifetimes.

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Follow along with Erica over on Instagram, @laughing.moon, and The Sling Diaries on Pinterest