Today I was moving some things around in the attic. Laurel is such a little monkey that we are going to liberate her from her crib before she ends up diving over the edge and falling on her head. So I was dragging a mattress down from the attic when I found a box of stuff. Archives. Things that were deemed too important to throw away, but not important enough to frame. I found a calendar that they gave me at Magee when I found out I was pregnant. It came with little stickers and you are supposed to record important dates in your pregnancy and the first few months of your child's life.
February 19; Week 5 - Positive Pregnancy Test
March 10; Week 8 - First prenatal appointment
April 12; Week 12 - Told friends about my pregnancy, heard baby's heartbeat for the first time
June 4; Week 20 Ultrasound - felt baby move for the first time
July 22; Week 27 - prenatal appointment
August 17; Week 30 - childbirth class
It's nice to know the exact dates of these things, but this particular artifact failed to record that jerk of a doctor who did my first prenatal appointment (and persuaded me to transfer to the Midwives at Magee). I wrote down nothing about the 7 months of morning sickness or the vacation we took in August when I did nothing but bob around in the swimming pool and sleep on the couch all week. It's just a piece of the puzzle. If I ever want to refresh my memory, I could cross reference my calendar and emails sent to friends with blog posts. But all of that lives in the Cloud, so to speak.
I tossed the calendar after I showed it to Laurel. We're doing some decluttering and I'm finding the need to be choosy about what I surround myself with. What makes me keep a dime I carried around in my backpack and get rid of a pregnancy memento? Both were life changing events. Maybe because I have a living artifact of the latter.
Speaking of artifacts and memory, I think M and I will remember Laurel's first word as backpack, even though it technically isn't. She has said doggie and kitty and bus and car for a while. But when we say backpack, she runs and gets her carrier, and jumps up and down until we put her in it and go outside. And then she says backpack over and over again while we're walking around. Memories are selective, and sometimes I wonder if you do a disservice to yourself and others by documenting or holding on to artifacts from everything. Maybe there are things that are better left distorted by the passage of time. And am I actually relinquishing any artifacts by committing them to the Cloud and tossing the paper copy?