The Way We Describe Things

I was talking with the girls today in the car and had a startling revelation on how we communicate about things on a five and seven year old memory level.  They don’t know exactly what things are and who people are until you put into a relation they can associate with.

For example, my stepfather, whom we lived with all summer, was “the man who lives with other Grandmom” who was also given my most favorite nickname of all time “Grandaddy Long Legs” because the girls got up each morning and ran outside in their nightgowns to help him round the little buggers up off the porch and carry them off into the woods. (Yes, the non-violent trait is inherited).  Now I must say these are five and seven year old girls, so their bit of assistance was jumping around shouting, “There’s one over here”!

But, I digress.  Today’s conversation was about what grocery store we were going to.  See we shop a little everywhere.  Meat and dairy from the farm, basic groceries from one local grocery store, fruit and veggies from orchard and farmer’s market.  Another grocery store that sells pretty good produce in the colder months and the Acme which has nice cut flowers which we were looking for the housewarming party today.

So Blondie says, “Which store are we going to”? 

The Acme would mean nothing to her, so I automatically responded, “The one where the Cookie Monster guy gave you a cookie that time”.

 Aha!  Immediate acknowledgement.


We also have the following:

The grocery store next to Aunt Karen’s library.

The orchard where the pumpkins are and the orchard where the people in the minivan blocked us in.

The restaurant where the clown made the balloon animals that time.

The Chinese buffet with the fried cheese wontons.

The place we have breakfast with Uncle Donnie.

The movie theatre where we had our pictures taken.

The exercise park.

The park with the geese.

The park with the river.

The park with the bouncy ride thingys.

The road with the cows. (Tough one around here, but this is a certain road with the brown cows).

The big library.

The old library where storytime was.

Aunt Karen’s library (My sister, the librarian, bless her).

Other Grandmom’s church with the stone wall.

The garden where we danced with the Maypole.

I never realized before how much of what they identify is related to their memories of the places.  Of course, there are some bad ones as well.

Blondie recently wouldn’t put a specific t-shirt on because she had bad memories linked to it.

It is hard to believe that as they grow older they will lose these memories.  Thinking back to what I remember of my time at that age are just a few memories of certain occasions or glimpses.  A birthday party, a specific game, my dog, Heidi and was this a real memory or did I see it in a picture or hear the recounting of it time after time by my parents/grandparents?

What will they remember of these times?  Will they remember the rides on their bike through the cemetary by our old house?  Will they remember catching tadpoles?  Will they remember the day we moved into this house?  Will they remember the horrible fights between their father and I?  Will they remember the days I cried endlessly in the bathroom? Will they remember picking cherries from the top of the car, gathering them in our dresses and baking them into a pie?  Will they remember our one family vacation to Hershey right before we split up?  Will they remember how I sat in their rooms with them when they were scared/sick/too tired but not tired?  Will they remember the road with the cows, the grocery store with the Cookie Monster or the old library where we had storytime?  The day Mommy put me in time out and forgot to tell me I could get up? (Darn, multitasking)!

It’s anyones guess, but in the meantime we keep making the memories and trying to be sure there are more good than bad ones, which these day, seems to be getting easier and easier.

As always I cannot post without a picture so here is a picture of a memorable character from this summer:


The peacock who stole the chocolate chip cookie at the zoo!


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Filed under girls, single parenthood

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