Tuesday, 12 March 2019

When memories of jam tarts aren't all that they seem

Jam tarts
Creative Commons licence, image source here

I’m sat here listening to mums funeral song on repeat, Imagine by John Lennon. I’m feeling the need to connect to mums memory more, and although this evokes really strong emotions for me (usually tears), sometimes I really need to listen to it... lots.

Today while chatting to a family member, I had a memory come back, all because of the words ‘jam tarts’.

When I was 3 or 4, mum used to take me to a play group/nursery for a couple mornings a week. I loved it there. This one day we made jam tarts, and I can remember it so vividly, I can see the room layout, the pale blue colour of the kitchen and the worn wooden floor. I’m sat at the table making the pastry. We cut out circles and put them in the baking tin, and spoon jam into them (red jam and orange jam – I imagine its strawberry and apricot). I loved making them, it’s my first memory of baking anything.

We clean ourselves up and go play in the hall. Then later, when it’s time to go home, I see mum walking up the steps into the hall, and one of the nursery staff hands me an open tub with my jam tarts in, and I’m immediately mortified, they’re burnt. It’s my fault, I must have burnt them. I feel so guilty that the first thing I’ve cooked for mum I’ve burnt, I literally feel ashamed.

I have no memory of eating them, or mum eating them, so maybe they went in the bin. But as I’m typing this I’m filled with that guilt of ruining them. And it’s only now the memory has come back, that I realise it wasn’t my fault at all, I didn’t put them in the oven or take them out, I was too young to do any of that. But that 3 year old Georgina didn’t put those thoughts and realisations together, I felt like it was my fault, I made the mistake.

That then led me to think about my own children, and when I’ve made things with them (namely Squidge) and he’s gotten upset because maybe things didn’t go perfectly. He must have felt like I did, like it was his fault, when it’s not at all, not in the slightest. The world is such a different place when you’re that little.

Sometimes life can really surprise you.

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