Recently someone asked about my first childhood memory. I began to think about some of my “first” moments. My first steps, the first taste of candy, or my first word.
But were these really my own memories or just stories about these events told to me by my parents?
We all have memories of growing up, but it's difficult to distinguish between those we really remember and those our families repeated throughout our childhoods.
Scientists believe that, from age 3, a child begins to retain images and events from his or her life. These often relate to our family - especially our parents - and animals.
One of my first memories was of water.
I grew up in Florida - the “sunshine state” - where there are many pools, lakes and ocean beaches. At 3, I had my first swimming lesson.
I remember that first splash into the water as the instructor gently placed me into the water. It was freezing even in the heat of the sun.
The pool seemed massive and endless. I was nervous as I couldn't touch the bottom with my feet.
The instructor held my head up as we swam together in the water, reassuring me that all was fine. In the background, I heard my parents shouting words of encouragement as they beamed with joy.
Slowly the initial fear went away, and I began to feel like a mermaid, gliding through the pool.
To this day, I remember those first splashes. Each time I go to the sea or step into a pool, I feel like that little mermaid of so long ago.