There are so few distinct memories I have of my own childhood. I know my own history, the chronological unfolding of events that made me who I am, but sometimes when I think back on it all I feel detached from it. It's almost like a sort of saga that I've told myself over and over until I'm not sure if the details I recall stem from the actual event or simply the last time I rehearsed the story. The early memories are hazy, at best, and blurred beyond recognition in the years following my parents divorce and several years of tough living that I know my mind blanks over to protect itself.
But today, a memory...
A gem pulled from some recess in my mind that hasn't felt an illuminating light in years.
The memory: a pot. A beat-up, dinged silver pot spotted with water and wear.
In my mind it is sitting on a dated stovetop, a garish oven's ode to the 1970s with its bright orange nobs and black and brown dials. Inside the pot, a bubbling of watered-down hot chocolate, my impoverished family's attempt at making a treat stretch for each person in a large family. The hot chocolate had to be made in a pot in order to evenly water it down, an attempt at fairness. But that is a reflection from my adult self, in the eye of my mind that sees this pot as I did then, I feel more than I see. I feel warmth. I feel anticipation. I feel the chill in the autumn or winter air in our small, drafty house being kept at bay by one magical liquid.
This memory hit me today as I poured hot water from my tea kettle into an abundant heap of Stephen's Hot Chocolate mix.
My depression, the source of daily struggle for me, has caused a bit of a haze in my life, of late. It's not swinging erratically out of control. No, this is just a hazy phase, where life just seems a little unseeable, unclear.
Today, for a moment, the haze cleared. I made my Older Little a cup of hot chocolate. I made myself a cup of hot chocolate. As I did, I was unsuspectingly struck by a silvering memory that sent tremors ringing through my inner emotions. I felt desire, desire to infuse the same emotional response into my Little's mind. Desire to pass on a gem so surprisingly precious.
Then I sat on the couch and held Little in my lap, gently showing my toddler how to slowly sip.
We ate crackers, sipped cocoa, and cuddled.
Ten minutes of clarity and warmth.
If there is anything this chronic inner struggle has taught me in my life, it's that ten minutes can make it all worth it. I'll take what I can get, and know in this season of gratitude, how lucky I am for even just ten minutes.