On Hiding and Remembering

Last night, we played hide and seek. It’s been a favorite pastime lately, and the girls and I took turns seeking. Our four-year-old, especially, has finally mastered the art of staying quiet. Six months ago, she reveled in being found. If you entered the room she was in, Maci would pop out and yell, “You found me!” Now, she stays quiet. Quietness, combined with the size of a four-year-old body, can make a difficult combination.

I looked in the closet for her last night, but our older daughter, Ellis, had helped Maci hide behind my workout bag. It may not have been the most aromatic place to hide, but it was effective. At other times, my wife and I will take turns hiding the girls. This is an exercise in paranoia: we scour through cupboards and closet shelves, searching for where the other perched one of the girls. Again, Maci fits neatly on a closet shelf, six feet off the ground. As long as she doesn’t roll.

I try to constantly remind myself that these years are short, and the memories are long.

We also started reading the Narnia series. Maci generally plays while I read to Ellis, but the older of the two listens, rapt. We read about the thaw of the winter last night, and Ellis squirmed on the couch while I began describing it: Lewis does a lovely job of showing rather than telling, and Ellis could see that the snow was melting long before anyone acknowledged it directly. She often surprises us with her ability to predict and decipher stories. Perhaps, by now, we are at fault for being surprised.

I need to write these moments because, otherwise, I will forget them. Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist, has defined our “experiencing self,” and “remembering self.” While our experiencing self may move through the world on a daily basis, our remembering self has actual control, despite the fickle and often erroneous nature of our memories. It’s our remembering self that helps control major decisions, that helps us see what certain times were like.

This is an exercise in reinforcing my remembering self.

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