This is my seventh year as a Lower El Montessori Mom. Lower El meaning the 6-9 age group, first through third grade. You know spring is approaching when you walk the halls of the classrooms and start to see timelines of life appear on the walls. This year was no different, except it was.
Beginning with the first day of school, every year, the Lower El kids learn about timelines through stories. Stories that explain all different events that make us who we are and how we came to be where we are today. Once the idea is firmly planted, the kids get to bring pictures of themselves to school and write a bit of a story about that time in their life. They can choose any time frame, though typically it’s one for each year of their life. This is the beginning of their Timeline of Life.
Gregory has needed his pictures for quite sometime, now. I have been dreading the act of sitting down with him to pick out one picture from each year of his life. The years he was sick and his body was fighting like hell to keep his organs and his new marrow. Then there are the years before cancer. The emotions attached to those years are weird. Looking back on them I want to feel like I should have had a premonition. I look through those photos looking for signs. Just so you know…… I never find them. There are not any to be found.
At Gregory’s age of 7, I get to fill in the memories from past years. He does remember somethings from more recent years, but anything beyond 3 is pretty much up to me to let him know what was going on. Guess what? I can’t access those memories. Not without a solid representation of something in an image or someone else around me who remembers moments. I look at some of those images before cancer and wonder…. what the hell was going on there! Despite the fact that I can look at any one of Curtis or AnnMare’s pictures from past years and remember exactly what was going on. Gregory before cancer is a complete blur.
He and I finally sat down and picked out eight pictures last night. His Timeline of Life was inspired by a memory from Christmas. Katie, his bone marrow donor, sent him a telescope for Christmas. He was so freaking excited about it that we immediately put it together and tried it out in the snow. Along with the snapping shutter of my cell phone. This is the memory and image he wanted to build his timeline from. Which translated into finding pictures of Gregory from the month of December, every year that he has been alive.
I am excited to see what Gregory’s timeline will look like and how he will articulate what he remembers and what I have shared with him about the pictures from his younger years. For posterity I have shared the images below along with description of my own. I really should do this with each kid. Alas, I do not have digital images prior to 2002. Curtis would have several years not represented. Still might do it, anyway.
Gregory’s Timeline of Life. Through my eyes.