The adorable Sarah did a great post over at Grenglish the other week about memories; asking people to consider which memories they’d keep if they had to pay for them.
It has provided a lovely opportunity to spend lots of time daydreaming, and revisiting some of the happiest times in my life. Of course, we’ve all had some horrible times in our lives too – memories that we’d quite like to take back to the shop for a refund – but there’s not much point in dwelling on those. The value of the good memories by far outweighs the value of the bad ones.
I’m going to surprise no-one by saying the first memory I’d hand over cold, hard cash for would be my wedding day. I had been determined to avoid the big fancy dress, the obsessing over seating plans, the jaw-droppingly expensive food bill… but when it came down to it I succumbed. And y’know what? It was marvellous. The sun was shining, the champagne flowed, and our friends all danced like crazy. Even my hair looked good. I don’t think I stopped grinning like a loon all day long, which is probably appropriate when you’re getting married to the man you adore. He loved me. And he put a ring on it. That’s a memory worth paying for.
I will however go against the grain and say that I wouldn’t stump up a penny for the memory of giving birth to DorkySon. Most of what has happened since then has been absolutely magical; DorkyDad and I talk on a regular basis about how incredibly lucky we are, and I never thought it would be possible to love someone as much as I love my son. But that actual moment – that drugged-up, scary, messy moment when a screaming baby was held up for me to see? Nope. You can keep that one, thanks anyway.
What else would I keep?
I’d keep the moment I walked out of my last exam at university, knowing I would never, ever have to do that again. I’d keep the look on DorkyDad’s face when I held up a stick with a blue line on it and told him I was pregnant. I’d keep the feeling of being Edenside Primary School Sports Champion when I was twelve years old. I wouldn’t bother keeping the memory of eating my first oyster, but I would keep the memory of every oyster since. I’d keep the email from the Guardian that says ‘yes, we’d love to publish that feature you wrote.’ I’d keep DorkySon’s first smile, and first laugh, and first steps. I’d keep passing my driving test, on the second attempt. I’d keep the weekend in Dublin with my Mum, eating soda bread and cream cheese for breakfast every morning. I’d keep the buzzing noise and the prickly pain as I had my tattoos done. I’d keep my brother drunk on whisky one Hogmanay – somewhere in his mid-teens – bouncing me up and down on his knee and singing Mellow Yellow. I’d keep every concert I’ve ever been to, even the Boyzone ones. I’d keep Palestine, and Greenland, and the Solskjaer goal that won Manchester United the treble. I’d keep my first ever weekend away with DorkyDad, to Paris, although if you want to erase the bit where I got food poisoning and threw up all over him, that would be absolutely fine.
I do wonder where memories go, sometimes. You can forget about someone or something for years, and then seemingly from nowhere they’ll pop into your head. Where have they been hiding all that time?
I’m sure that as soon as I hit publish on this, I’ll be swamped with a hundred other happy memories that I’d happily pay for. It’s just as well this is only for fun, because I don’t think there are enough pennies in my purse to pay for this sweet life of mine.