One of Big Kid's most interesting attributes is his memory. He remembers everything--he can tell you the exact date he got each of his stuffed animals, he can recall almost any fact he's ever heard, he memorizes song lyrics the first time, he is a fantastic speller because he remembers every word he's ever read, and he remembers things that happened before he was old enough to remember these things.
This is usually just an amusing and impressive quirk, and something that should serve him well in life. But one memory is very bizarre, and it is the one he has held onto the longest.
Big Kid swears he remembers life before birth.
Practically from the time he could talk, he would talk about being a baby and how before that it was light and then dark. At first I wrote this off as a young child trying to remember what it must have been like in someone's stomach or major timeline confusion. He also had some speech issues that made everything more interesting and confusing.
But as he grew, this story more or less stayed the same. Once he got a little older I pointed out that it would have been dark and then light, and he corrected me and said, "No, I'm talking about before that. It was light before I got into you and then it was dark. I remember the light. Then it was light again but a cold, crazy light. Then I don't remember after that."
That weirded me out but he was still young at the time, maybe 4 or 5.
I told him it is very unlikely he remembers being in the womb and he insisted, insulted, that he absolutely did and remembers the time before that, too. It always comes up briefly, usually apropos of nothing, and then is just as quickly dropped.
Today at the beach, he suddenly said, "I know there is a heaven."
We are barely religious. Big Kid went to a Jewish preschool, little kid went Lutheran, they've been to a few Methodist and Baptist churches but not even a Sunday school class. We all believe in a higher power but don't get into the logistics too often, other than helping others and appreciating life.
"Yes." he said with a certainty I both envy and respect. "I remember the light before the darkness."
So simple. So sure. So insanely profound.
"You've talked about that for a long time," I said, getting goose bumps in the sun.
"I can't forget."
I don't know what's going on with this, after roughly 6 years of discussing it, but I am starting to believe him. Or maybe I just really hope there is light before (and after) the darkness.