Of Memories and the Memorable

“How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d.”

I’d love to tell you I discovered this quote because of my voracious reading of 18th century poetry, but nope. I stumbled across it in a much more modern, less erudite way – a movie. One of my favorite movies, though. It’s called Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (the title clearly inspired by this poem), and it’s a weirdly wonderful story about a man named Joel (played by the serious version of Jim Carrey) who is so overcome with heartbreak that he seeks out a service to wipe out all of the memories of his lost love, Clementine (Kate Winslet). If you haven’t seen it, you really must. Most of the movie is spent inside Joel’s mind as he relives all of the memories of Clem – good and bad – as they are being wiped away and tries to hold onto them after all.

Such is the rub of our memories and our heartbreaks. They may hurt, but they make us who we are. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to navigate, especially when you’re younger and it’s your first broken heart. As parents, it’s hard to sit by and watch your kids suffer this rite of passage. Sometimes (oftentimes), in your effort to ease their pain, you say the wrong thing, you come off dismissive. It’s easy to do.

So in this month’s cover story, we offer you some advice for helping your kids survive heartbreak. If your kids aren’t at this stage yet, it’s coming before you know it, so set this aside.

This is also our Education issue, so it’s chock-full of stories about school – from how to navigate the dreaded middle school years to an exploration of what exactly makes a good teacher. If your kids have had the fortune of a fantastic teacher in the past few years, take a few minutes and nominate that exceptional educator in our Top Teacher search at MetroParent.com/TopTeacher. We’ll feature some of the nominees in our May issue and all will get a shoutout at MetroParent.com.

Just last week, I discovered that my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Winowski, had passed away. I haven’t seen her probably since sixth grade when I left West Utica Elementary, but it was a gut-punch to realize she was gone. She was a tough teacher, but good. She was a stickler about proper cursive (even the ugly uppercase Qs) and putting our names in the right-hand corner of our papers. She helped me master my multiplication tables by having us play Around the World. And when I finally won, I treated my prize, a blue dog eraser top, like it was a golden trophy. I just kept it propped on my desk to admire – and never used it to erase my mistakes.

And so here’s to all our memories and the memorable, from the people who break our heart to the teachers who embolden and inspire.


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