Monday, February 1, 2010

Somewhere In Time

In nothing are we as rich as in our memories; they are pictures painted by our hearts, and nothing can erase them.

-- Flavia
Memories are strange things. They can be objects, souvenirs, a box full of photos. But, they can also be a mist of days you can see in your mind- a heap of happy that tickles in your heart- things you yearn for and wish could be made real again.
Nothing is more bittersweet than seeing your children grow up.
(Your arms want to hold them forever, but your feet are ready to kick them out and say "I told you so." -that "money doesn't grow on trees"- and "now you'll find out who pays the electric bill." )
Yet, as my nest is eerily quiet now, I focus upon my memories- like pieces of jigsaw puzzles in a cyclone. Like overflowing file cabinets in my brain.They flood my heart and comfort my soul and make me smile.
But every day they fade a little more. Washed away like sand. Pulled away by the forces of time and nature. Colors fuse, years are foggy, places become obscure and conversations forgotten.
That's why we should all keep a journal. A diary. A place for memories to live in their tangible form.
A scrapbook, a photo album, a video library. A place where age cannot undermine the clarity of those moments.
What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen. ~Cynthia Ozick
That being said, as parents we need to be careful what memories that our children keep. The time you fought and cursed over the dent in the car- should not be remembered over the fishing trip one summer. Sad times should be smothered by the happy ones.
(And for all intents and purposes, they should not remember the time you did a hippo flop playing basketball at 40, tried cartwheels at age 50 and twisted your rotator cuff, or fell in a ditch at Halloween last year- dressed like a witch and reeking of wine.)
Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things. ~Pierce Harris, Atlanta Journal
I believe memories have to be nurtured- invented- pursued.
Don't let anything deter you from planning that family vacation, the weekend outing, that special game night at home. These are the days they will remember.
While away in a lonely college dorm, driving to work on a snowing morning, watching their own children play in the sand.... your children will fondly recall family times.
And without saying it, they will thank you.
Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume. ~Jean de Boufflers
Sometimes it's not easy making memories.
For a few years, camping was our way of making the family bonds- of seeking new places and faces and adventures for our children to tuck into the keepsake boxes of their hearts.
It was a pain to prepare. To load swim wear and water shoes and sleeping bags and pillows and blankets and mosquito repellent and coolers and food and snacks and the camera and tents and a radio and utensils and ...I was worn out and ready to stay home!
But, once we reached our destination, I was always glad we went. The kids explored the woods, caught fish, swam in the river, and sat around the fire as we talked and laughed...and made memories.
Today they remember things about our camping trips that I had forgotten. They were experiences that help mold and fashion their character.
Don't ever think a moment is too small for a memory.
Even one second, well spent- will never be forgotten.
“The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we'd all pile into the car - I forget what kind it was - and drive and drive. I'm not sure where we'd go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called "Dad." We'd eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.”
Jack Handy

I hope my kids and grand kids remember me in a good way.
Not me standing at the sink in my ragged robe and argyle socks- cursing the Thanksgiving turkey because it was still frozen-
or the time I accidentally dyed my hair red and wore a bandanna for three days-
or the time I was moving rocks by the pond and ripped off an entire fingernail...
Well-okay-you get the idea.
I want them to remember my laugh, my smile, my love of giving parties. My love of coffee and chocolate- of writing and painting- of loving their father...
Of the hundred times I dragged that stupid tent down from the attic and squeezed it into a crowded truck bed- just so they could go to the river.
Things like that.
Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From the television show The Wonder Years
What I'm trying to say today is- make some memories. Don't wait for them to happen. Go find them.
Make your memory file box so full that you will never be lonely, sad or forgotten.
Enjoy family times. Together. As a circle of people bound by blood and love.
Your children will always be made grateful, stronger, and be forever comforted by their memories.
Take the time. Take the money. Take the chance.
And someday when you find yourself in a quiet house- an empty nest- you can sit by the window and reflect on what treasures you have given them.
It won't be the new CD, the money for gas, the used furniture or the leftover casserole that they will remember and love you for.
It will be a piece of your self.
Of time unselfishly given.
Of sincere smiles and awkward moments and a string of priceless days.
Of camping and cartwheels.
Monopoly and movies.
Fishing and friends.
Beaches and balloons.
Sunsets and smiles...

And, darn it- frozen turkey, too.
Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth. ~Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses
Today's Five Things
1. Memories
2. Sharpies
3. Lists
4. Sunsets
5. Honeysuckle