In retrospect, I was oblivious to the agony I put my mom through: countless nights of wait and worry over what I was doing and when I’d return home, while I was busy believing that I was invincible. It took being a mom to finally get it. Though my children are a mere three and six years old, there is premonition in their daring. I know that one day it will be me carrying that weight of worry on my back. But for now, I will savor them and pray that they survive the bravado of their youth to become parents to children of their own, who will remind them of how fragile invincibility can be.
What we remember — and what we forget — may reveal more about ourselves than about them. We have photos, letters, souvenirs, and fragments of memory, but our powerful imagination takes over from there: We color in the blanks. And that’s OK. Retouching old loves is a way of understanding what we want. It helps us find our way to new ones.