We all have memories that are ours alone and, occasionally, they pop up, inspired by a song or conversation. For me, whenever Honky Tonk Woman by the Rolling Stones comes on the radio I am brought back to when I went with my parents to my brother’s friend’s graduation party. I was probably too young to stay home alone with my younger brother, so my parents brought us with them. Quite likely, they thought they’d make an appearance and then leave, which is quite likely what happened. I cannot be sure because the only memory I have from that time is music blaring from a record player and me slowly and shyly starting to bop to it. When the Rolling Stones’ tune came on, I specifically recall bopping a bit more freely and then glancing over my shoulder to see my parents watching me, both wearing a curious smile. I cannot be sure what they were thinking; either, our little girl is starting to grow up or we have to get her out of here and away from the rock and roll sounds that inspire rebellion. I’m guessing if I’d have asked them about it years later, they wouldn’t have any recollection of that moment, one that is prominent to me.
But then there was another time it was becoming obvious I was maturing. My family was watching twin cousins of mine and they were playing outside with a BB gun, something they were allowed to have. But then I heard a ruckus and ran outside to see one of the boys laughing and the other howling. It turns out the boy who was laughing had taken the gun and put it in his brother’s mouth and tried to shoot it, much to his brother’s protests. Instead of running for one of my parents to take care of the situation, I took the gun away and scolded them, telling them about the dangers of what they were about to do, and how brothers should protect each other. And how guns should not be toys. They seemed surprised by my reaction and when I once again looked over my shoulder, there was my father standing several feet away. He gave me a nod of approval and then went back about his work without saying a word. I realized, as I’m sure he did, too, I was growing up. Now, with my three adult kids, I wonder if they have any moments when they realized I was seeing them no long as children and would I remember that moment? Or, perhaps, it’s a memory that they want as theirs and theirs alone.