March 22, 2007

Can memories be built?

Earlier this month, the lovely Scribbit brought up the topic of "childhood memories" and the challenge was to write about "....your favorite childhood memory, your earliest childhood memory, ways you're working to build memories for your own children... ". While I was too lazy to actually write an entry-worthy post myself, the topic did spur some pondering of my own.......

My favorite childhood memories are pretty simple - reading, riding my bike all over when we lived in town (scary to think of a 7-8 year old allowed such freedom!), exploring our property when we lived in the country (all 40 acres of it- AGAIN, very scary to think that a 9-10 year old was allowed such freedom!), and I remember fun times such as playing boardgames and cardgames with my parents and spending time at Perry Lake with them.

Now, for the "ways I'm working to build memories for my own children"...... This is where I turn pretty cynical. Perhaps it's all the December posts from harried parents trying to cram in every holiday-themed activity they can muster (posts usually accompanied by snaps of crying kids sitting on Santa's lap). Or maybe it was watching my very married former best friend do things like plan the perfect tea party for her daughter while she was also making plans to meet her lover she had met through an AOL chat room. It could be hearing stories of folks saving for years or incurring massive credit card to afford the Disney Dream of a Lifetime trip for their child. Sure, when I was 9 years old, I went to Disneyland when I was 9 years old when we visited my grandpa and step-grandma C in LA, but I actually remember very little of the Disneyland trip itself. What I remember most from that LA trip is the actual airplane trip itself, swimming in my grandpa and step-grandma's pool, dancing to records, making fortune cookies with C and visiting Venice Beach (because GAWD, how do you forget Venice Beach for the first time??).

So, um. I don't think memories can be created. They just happen. My parents probably don't even know that one of my favorite moments from when they were married was the result of a practical joke they played on each other. Our driveway was 1/4 mile long and we could see when one parent was coming home. We would rush around, turning off all the lights to the house so that the arriving parent would come home to a darkened house, knowing full well that we were hiding in the shadows waiting to scare the crap out of them - they had seen all the lights in the house get turned off, after all. I remember the delicious part was to let the parent walk by several times, THEN jump out just when they felt safe (my mom was particularly vulnerable to this strategy). It was basically a joke my parents were playing on each other, but they included us in on the punchline. And to this day, it's probably one of my sweetest memories as a family. Which may lay light into what sort of person I've become. But, whatever.

I've posted before about what I call Life's Perfect Moments. Those sweet times that Life pitches your way that you would love to capture in a bottle and save for a later - although, a digital camera certainly does well in a pinch. Of course, I'm not the Tinman - I definitely hope that Arun and NewKid will want to play canasta and cribbage with me. And if they don't like Monopoly, Sorry or God Forbid - PayDay, I think I will cry. But I am not counting on those being their favorite childhood memories (although they may very well be MY favorite memories from their childhoods). All I can do is provide lots of experiences and hope that something pans out. Right?

Simian Snappage
Recent Snaps from one of those Life's Perfect Moments. Nothing particular awe-inspiring or special about it. It was a mild day, partly cloudy and we were just hanging out in the backyard. But it was very peaceful to just sit in the grass, listen to the birds and watch Arun gleefully walk the fence line and play with the leaves.

This Hawk totally rawks.

Although, this Hawk is in desperate want of a haircut.

SIU, we're gunnin' for YOU.

Although, objects are smaller than they appear.


Pure, Unadulterated Glee.

Isn't this what Life is really about?


Mike said...

That picture of your son running is adorable. Love the face.

Modern Day Hermit said...

I love, love, love, those pics! I want to just snatch him up!

I could not agree with you more about memories!

flybunny said...

Awesome pictures.

I would like to think we made one of those memories a couple of nights ago playing a game with the girls and all of us at one point at tears running down our faces because we were laughing so hard - it was pure fun that we were having together!

Hey nice shout out in the paper today....

meno said...

It's the small moments, not the grand gestures that children remember.

Climbing onto the roof on forgotten ladder, eating mashed potato flakes, reading and listening to the cicadas.

metalia said...

Oh my word, how CUTE is he?!

Good luck with the ultrasound tomorrow!

Leah said...

He has got to be one of the cutest kids I have ever seen!

And I totally agree about the memories thing. You can't make your kid have memories that they'll cherish.