Sometimes I'm not sure if I really remember something because it's genuinely my memory, or if it's because I've heard the story so many times and seen the pictures so many times that now my brain has created its own file for the memory.
It's like when you get a recipe from someone, the first three times you make it, you have to give them credit. "This is Robb's salsa." "This is Kate's lasagna." "This is Melissa's spinach dip." But after three? It's your own. Claim it, baby.
So my early memories are kind of like that. They may have at one time just belonged to someone else, but I've visited and referred to them so many times that now they have become mine. I've claimed it.
There's a picture of Baby Tricia, one year old, smashing her chocolate cupcake with white and blue frosting. She's laughing and happy and round and curly and all baby on the brink of toddler.
I think of that picture, that little girl, still an only child, not yet walking but very articulate. I want to say, "Smash it right into your face, baby girl. You've got the right idea. This is what birthdays are about. Every chance you get, roll yourself right into the cake, Sweet Pea."