Throughout the year, when I would pick Hadley up from school, our conversations would go like this:
"Hi, Hadley! How was school?"
"What'd ya do?"
"I can't remember."
Finally, after being asked this clearly way too many times, Hadley suggests, "Mamma, you always ask that question and I always tell you I don't remember. I think you should come up with something else to say."
Minutes later the conversation turns to boogers and poop, and I am sneaking looks at Hadley's folder on the way home to catch a glimpse of what went on while she was away from me.
So I don't know all that went on this year while Hadley was in school, and I'm fine with that. It seems as though part of learning about oneself consists of having some of one's own memories to wonder about. But it is part of who I am to mark things down as time goes by. It's why I write a blog. It's why I have all my planners from 1990.
Besides, if left to Hadley's devices, this is what would be "remembered" of her 2010-2011 school year.
Driving to Royal Crown Bakery for breakfast on the last day of school: "So Hadley, what do you remember about preschool this year?"
"I remember when I was 3 and I went to school with an orange dress with pink polka dots."
"I don't remember that dress."
"Right. You don't remember that dress because it was in my dream."
I kept most of Hadley's artwork from the school year, but the thing that I can't throw away is her carpool number. I know I made fun of it when I first got it, but it has become a badge for me. I was proud to be in line with the other parents dropping our children off and picking them up from school. It made me feel like I was a part of something, like we were all sharing a part of this parenting thing together.
I've started writing down little things that I remember on the sheet: the toys Hadley brought for show and tell, the songs we sang on the way to school, the story she and I read on the first day of school (Dotty by Erica Perl - a must read for all children and anyone who can't find their imagination), the day I hit a turtle on the way to school and Hadley said, "It's OK, Mama. He has a hard shell. I don't think you hurt him." I'll keep this along with Hadley's artwork so I don't forget.
I told Hadley I'd take her out to breakfast anywhere she wanted for the last day of school. She decided on the Royal Crown Bakery.
"Whadya gettin'?" one of them will say and I'm never sure whether they're talking to me. I'm so afraid I won't answer in time and then I won't get my bagel or donut (or bagel AND donut, because they're THAT GOOD and I can't decide).
On the morning Hadley, Harper and I were there, a customer struck up a conversation with one of the ladies behind the counter. The customer told her that she looked very similar to another lady who worked there.
"YEA, THAT'S MY SISTER. (I'm typing in all caps to convey a sense of volume.) SHE'S SO LOUD. SHE'S ALWAYS LIKE, 'WHADYA WANT?'"
I started laughing and Hadley looked at me. She started laughing too. I don't think she was laughing at the same thing I was laughing at, but it was nice to be together at the Royal Crown Bakery sharing a laugh before she went to school.
Even if we remember the memory differently from one another. It was nice to be together.