The earliest memory I have from this lifetime is from when I was an infant. I was at my mother's parent's house in Wellsboro, laying bundled up in a wooden cradle. Pushing it side to side, gently with his foot, was my Uncle Gerry. The memory is dim, but full of the warmth and security of the family surrounding me. There are soft impressions of wooden walls, the smell of food cooking, and voices around me.
Another early memory I have is one that I spent most of my life believing was my first memory. After talking to my mom about it's details, I think I have determined that this memory must have been a dream. And so, this is the very first dream that I remember from when I was very young. In it, I am lying in bed between my parents, snuggled up in blankets. They are sleeping and I am just waking up. It is night-time. Across the room is a window towards the top of the wall. Through the window I can see the full moon glowing. It is winter. I am happy. This early memory also is filled with the feelings of warmth and security, and also a fascination with the moon, peacefullness, and closeness to family. It is nice to know that my early waking life and my dreamtime were happy and peaceful places to be.
The first nightmare I can remember having is also one of my first memories. I believe I was a toddler when I had this dream. In it, I am walking through a flat and warm pine forest. I come across a candy store, go in, buy some candy, and return to the forest as I eagerly bite into the chocolate bar. As I head home, I see a bear approaching me, blocking my way forward on the path I came in on. Scared, I turn around and walk in the opposite direction. The bear is following me. The path ends at a cliff. I start to climb down the vertical cliff wall, only to discover a bee hive hanging next to me on the rock wall, buzzing with life. The bear above, bees beside, and a long way down beneath me. Luckily, at this point I wake up safe and sound in my bed.
Another vague memory I have from my toddler years happened before either of my brothers were born. For me, this memory marks the end of my only-child status. (Of course, I have equally wonderful memories from the time after the brothers arrived as well.) In this memory, I am walking down the sidewalk in between my parents. We are holding hands and they are swinging me way up in the air in between them as we walk forward. Over and over. It is so much fun. There is this feeling of complete togetherness, pure joy, and a deep love that binds us together. I feel that this is from before I intellectually understood my own separateness and independence as an individual. And so this memory reminds me of the beautiful unity and foundation that I grew from. It may be simple, but it is one of my favorite early memories.
I am lucky really, that the only fear that stands out from my early childhood is from a fleeting dream. I am lucky to have been born into a loving and safe family, where respect, gentleness, fun, and joy were cornerstones of our interactions. I am lucky that I was given this good and healthy foundation. I can only wish that everyone could be so lucky. But, again, I can be thankful that my parents made the choice to choose love, over and over again.