It's Easter Sunday. Our family gathered for brunch, followed by key lime pie and mimosas. Afterwards, everyone hung out on the sofas talking and the subject "What is your earliest memory?" came up.
One cousin remembered bouncing off the side of a moving car as she ran across the street without looking at age 5. Another watched her older sister fall down the stairs and break her collarbone when she was only 4. Mom said it was climbing into an ice truck that took off while she was eating the ice. She had to jump and ended up getting gravel dug out of her face and knees. My brother's fiancee grew up on a farm. Helping deliver calves, take care of chickens, and do other farm chores created a series of powerful early memories for her.
My earliest memory is of climbing out of my crib one Christmas morning, toddling into a still dark living room, and navigating my way to the presents by the twinkling of the Christmas tree lights. I remember the colored balls making noises and popping around brightly inside the plastic dome as I pushed my new toy around and around the living room, until everyone else woke up and joined me. I had just turned 3.
Great grandma Nain, who is a 103, had the coolest first memory of all. She was sitting on her 6'5" tall father's shoulders at age 4, watching a trainload of soldiers lean out the windows hooting and hollering for the large crowd had come to greet them, as they arrived back home at the end of World War I.
The common thread? Everyone's first memory was an emotional one. Obvious once you think about it but delightful to discover as the stories unfolded. I couldn't think of a better way to spend an Easter day.
Have an earliest memory you want to share? I am willing to bet it is one that still awakens feelings in you, no matter the intervening years.