My Earliest Memory

A few years ago I was chatting with my dad and the topic of early memories comes up. It’s the perfect opportunity to ask whether or not a piece of my memory has been a delusional figment of my imagination or if it is in fact a legit memory. Turns out, much to my fathers surprise and mine it was very real.

My mother always said I was born afraid of life. I was / am her little “chickie-chickie” and it’s never really changed. I wasn’t yet a year old and we had just moved to Washington state, where the weather was much crisper than the California sun we’d all been accustomed too.  My father told me that he’d take me for a ride on his motorcycle. To me, it was this big monster of awe. I was both terrified and thrilled by it. Even at this delicate age I knew it should be both feared and embraced. Of course, I think he was hoping I’d forget the promise as it was cold and the day never warmed up. Later that afternoon, after much begging on my part and my mother’s insistence I would finally get to take that ride.

He sat me up on the beast, nested into his lap and holding on for dear life. “Don’t let go,” he whispered into my ear before starting her up. I can vividly remember the ripple of fear and excitement move through me with the rumble of the engine. My dad was letting me sit on his coveted motorcycle. We backed up and he drove me into the yard.  We did circles around the large tree in the middle of the front yard. One loop, a second, a third. The wind blowing in my baby hair a smile ear-to-ear on my face. I have an image of that tree burned into the hollows of my eyes. Now I’m sure looking back that he probably never went very fast, in fact he was probably super overly cautious. But to my one young mind, we were flying. I was afraid of falling, of my dad letting go, of the motorcycle falling over. I was over come with excitement and wanted to go faster, further, and for much longer.

I often look back on that memory when I’m afraid of something. It might sound dumb, but that child was so innocent and in awe of life. She was terrified of getting on that motorcycle, but she was also thrilled. When I think about things that scare me, I really attempt to channel her, to remember that being afraid of something can be temporary. Moving past the fear and finding the excitement in it, and more importantly never letting fear stop me from doing whatever I want.

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