I’m not from the North East, and whilst various members of my family have followed me up here, including my sister and my parents
(I know, didn’t they get the hint…?!), I will never be a Geordie, or a North Easterner, not by birth at least. But I’ve been here fifteen years now,
and my wife (also not a native, born and raised in Lincoln) has been in the North East even longer, so it’s very much my home and
I can’t imagine living anywhere else for the foreseeable. But we’re not from around here, you know.
So one of the lovely things about having children here is they that are bonafide Geordies, cementing our own roots here.
We may not have ancestral links, and no places (and fewer people) nearby to remind us of our own childhoods, so I find myself interested
in what memories our children are forming of this area and this time of their lives.
And that’s the odd thing. At 5, Lois will be have some that will remain with her throughout life, or so they say, with a few snippets from
earlier days. Carrie, however, at 2, will likely recall nothing, and that amazes me. She’s such a character, creating so many
happy memories for my wife and I, and yet she will remember nothing! That doesn’t mean that the details of these days, for
either of them, are insignificant. The exact opposite of course. These are the days when they learn things so deeply that they don’t need
to be recalled actively, they form part of who they are –the love for and from their parents, the security of a safe and fun home,
the importance of kindness and care.
When Lois was little I used to, on occasion, photograph her room. Spaces interest me (I am an architectural photographer after all!), but it
was more that children’s rooms change, and I wanted to keep hold of those scenes for future years. In theory for Lois’s benefit, though
whether she will be appreciative cannot be known yet, and really, I have to admit, it’s for me!
(I’ve not done it for Carrie yet, shame on me. So many things that you do for a first child get missed out for the second.
The first benefits from your attention, the second your experience, don’t they say? There is a sadness in that,
but it’s hard for it to be any other way.)
So, what’s my point?! In our hectic lives as two working parents raising two girls, there is sometimes no space for a breath.
No slack in the system, as I sometimes think. Surviving not thriving.
Days and weeks pass by at a rate of knots, and I worry sometimes that we, as adults, are not stopping to appreciate it.
We should all pause more of course, make time for ourselves, our lives, our marriages. Be thankful for all the little things, and the big.
Of course we should. But maybe if we don’t, or can’t, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much. Those times aren’t
lost – they are feeding into our children’s sense of who they are, and maybe they are doing the same for us,
even if we don’t realise it.
But, if you can, take some notes of funny things they say or do, or a photo of an everyday scene, not just special occasions.
Those are the things most likely to fade from memory over time, and that one day we may relish looking back on.
Steve Mayes | Steve Mayes Photography