Another indelible September memory.
When it comes to love, memory can be a tricky beast.
For example, most of us remember our first loves: be it a beaten up old car, our first bicycle or even a long lost pet.
That motor was a true classic, always breaking down, horrible to drive, but I really loved that car...or did I? Was it just the novelty of being able to drive and not being reliant on other people or public transport?
My first bike (pedal powered) looking back was a rusty brakeless hand-me-down, but I really loved that bike despite the bumps and bruises and the horrible purple and rust colour scheme....or did I? Was it just that first youthful taste of freedom of movement, the realisation I could move faster than I could run?
The first family pet I can remember was a cat, even though he was a really rough and tough alley cat, he was adorable. I really loved Tiddles...or did I? Looking back I was probably terrified of the hissing spitting mass of black and white fur, all claws and teeth, totally unpettable pet, but he was my totally unpettable pet!
Then memory throws up true curve balls of emotions when it comes to puppy love, first dates and crushes. That girl I was desperate to ask to the school disco, flame red hair, gorgeous smile, the envy of all my mates. Actually turned out to be one of the worst human beings I've ever met!
The shy blonde hippy biker chick in college, weeks of flirting and begging for a date... Hated motorbikes, hated rock music and, as it turned out, hated me way more than several of my friends she was dating at the same time!
As we grow older we learn, or are taught through the school of hard knocks, to evaluate things, to look for flaws, to expect there may be no happily ever after. Life may not be a rom com.... But we still try to remember those little butterflies of bliss.
Then, seemingly out of the blue, for some of us lucky ones, there comes that memory of an event so pure, so stunning in its completeness. True love jumps up and bites you on the arse!
Totally unexpected as it is, this type of love does not prepare the memory, no weeks of waiting, no months of planning, it is simply there.
The details of a first meeting may blur with the years, memory of what clothes were worn, what meal was consumed or what music was playing may be a little fuzzy; but the feeling of that first electric shock of a kiss, that gut jolting stomach churning response to his or her touch, the sheer bliss of their voice over a telephone line stays with you forever.
Gigantic emotional butterflies dwell within ones heart, their wing patterns maybe blurry with age, but their beauty still astonishes.
Those of you who are parents will also know the earth shattering memory of that first look at a newborn. Instant, undying, overwhelming love. The first time you hold that bundle of joy stays with you, a million butterflies finding a new home within your chest.
Again, it's not the 'I remember it was 14.23, I was wearing a blue shirt and had just eaten a slightly cold chicken pie' kind of memory. It's the 'oh my goodness, the world will never be the same ever again' kind of memory. How can you fall so deeply and instantly in love with this tiny creature that you have brought into the world? Indescribable unless you've actually been there.
The butterflies return with each child, equally brilliant, sharing space, expanding beautiful wings of memory.
As we grow older and our children grow, that memory occasionally twangs the heart strings; especially when we realise those same tiny creatures now no longer depend on us, no longer think we are the centre of their universes, they may physically have flown the nest or be testing their wings ready to fly, but that memory of first baby love lingers. No matter how old or big they get, they will always be our babies. Look into their eyes and you are transported back down the years on butterfly wings to that oh my god moment!
Driving down to meet my new grandson at the start of this month, all these memories of loves lost and found spun around my head. What kind of feelings would holding the baby bring; what if those remembered feelings I experienced with my own children didn't happen? I simply couldn't imagine feeling that same instant all consuming butterfly love, but surely the blood of my blood would trigger at least some of the feelings I remembered?
A few hours later, M6 fading into memory, there he was , a perfectly beautiful tiny ball of brilliant, instant love.
Memory may not be as precise as it once was, the years may play a few tricks with the old grey matter, but that doesn't matter in the least.
The first time I held my grandson will stay with me, more stunningly brilliant wings adding to the other butterfly memories fluttering around in my heart forever.
Welcome to the world, my love.