Saturday, February 23, 2013

First Memory

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.


Stacey said...

That is so cool. I would be weirded out as his mom. But as a random commenter, I think it is so fascinating.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I believe him. Because I have a similar memory. But I never talk about it because what was "cute" as a kid, is just that side of "crazy" as an adult. But I absolutely still have that memory (or my adult rational self wants to call it a feeling) from before I was born. My memory involves snow too. NO ONE believed me as a kid but I mean, I just turned 35 yesterday, and I still stand behind the memory. It happened.


Cindy said...


MTGrace said...

He's SUCH an amazing kid!

Unknown said...

I love this post. And I absolutely know Big Kid is right. xo

Jill Ann said...

That is amazing. What a great kid.

Unknown said...

Makes you think twice about a pro-choice stance if there is light even before darkness..

Lisalu said...

That gives me goosebumps. And so matter of fact about it. I had a mc before my first baby, and what gave me comfort was thinking that little baby soul was still there, just waiting for the right time, and that he/she would come to us in some form when it was right. Big kid's words make me think that was right!

Steph said...

Maybe I'm PMS'ing, but that brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing kid you have.

asnell said...

I went to a New Orleans Saints football game with pregnant and my son swears he watched the game out my belly button...not the same.

Anonymous said...

Oh Ashley,I read every post and never comment on blogs for some reason. The post about your older son seeming to figure out heaven was lovely. And then,yesterday my eldest daughter told me that she showed my granddaughter (who is not yet three) a picture of our beloved cat,who died before she was born.My daughter said "We don't have her anymore", and my granddaughter said"She is up high in the sky". I have to wonder if she knows about heaven, We are not religious people and this made me wonder about that. Rae Parkin.

Unknown said...

Thanks for all of the comments! I've also gotten two emails from people with similar stories about a light before the darkness, I'm glad I got over my fear of sounding completely crazy and shared. The whole weird thing does bring me some comfort.

Renee said...

Oh wow, Ashley. This is incredible. The light before the darkness?? Wow wow wow wow. I have chills! I will never forget how your Big Kid could flip through a pack of DVDs and tell you what was missing, even though they were in random order. He has a BEAUTIFUL MIND. It must be overwhelming for you at times. (In a good way, but maybe kinda daunting to?)

(I've been catching up with you here....I'm so glad I went back this far! I feel like my life has changed a little after reading this.....not sure how exactly, but I know this will pop into my head for years to come.)