As I think back to my childhood, most of the memories that tend to stand out are the bad or scary memories. Don’t get me wrong: there are some good ones, but they are much fewer and usually entail some sort of big trip (for me that was a drive to Ogunquit) or getting a special item. So many of the smaller good memories are unfortunately lost and forgotten. I am thankful for photos and for my Mom’s memory of some of them so that she can remind me of what I can’t recall.
This got me thinking how important it is to create lasting memories with my kids. I realized that part of what I remember is things that we did that were out of the ordinary for our family. For example, one time we pitched a tent in our backyard and camped out overnight. It was so fun, and it’s an activity I have repeated with my family. But that is one of the few that I can remember.
My parents had four kids, and it was a crazy house with lots always going on, so we didn’t really take the time to stop and think about what would make lasting memories. Now that I’m older and wiser, I feel I’m missing that piece of the puzzle, and I want to correct it with my own kids.
Of course, even though I often think about this, it’s hard to always keep up and make sure the memories are building within my children. Believe me: I am on the four-year plan for printing photos. My poor third child has almost no printed photos of her own. The last time I printed photos was when I was pregnant in the nesting phase, and I did a big clean-up.
I am definitely not getting pregnant again so that I can print photos! So in the meantime, I am working on the HERE and NOW and trying to imprint those images on all of our brains. My husband and I have now pledged to do more things out-of-the-ordinary to ensure that our kids have wonderful, lasting memories of our family life – so that the bad doesn’t overpower the good. But life tends to throw us a lot of twists and turns, and it is going to take some work to do this.
So, what is our pledge? At least once a month we have to do something spontaneous and surprising. (Believe me, I don’t mean jumping out of airplanes.) I mean like driving to the lookout on a clear night in our pajamas and bringing hot chocolate along for the ride. I think that if I would’ve had more of these moments as I kid, then my good memories would be at the forefront of my brain.
That is one wish I have for my kids: to remember all the good. Why? Because if most of what they remember is good, then they will always feel good; therefore, they will be good people. And, voila! That is what makes memories so very important – especially the good ones.