Time flies when you are having fun. And even when you are not having fun, when the hard times of life hit you like a semi-truck, time is flying. One piece of advice that it is always good to instill in your kids is the catch phrase, “this too shall pass!” Because no matter how good, or how bad life is….in a year’s time or in five year’s time, certain things will be over. What you will be left with are memories. One of the most amazing things about the human family is that the entire time you are alive, you are making memories together.
One of the most difficult things about divorce, or about the changing seasons of life in general is that in retrospect it is easy to look back and see all the memories you have with other people. In the course of one year, a lot happens within a family. Granted some years are less memorable or life changing than others, but as a cumulative whole – your life never remains in the same place. You are an evolutionary, constantly transitioning creature.
Take for instance the life of your children. When they were born, they were little more than a bundle of joy wrapped in a blue or pink blanket. Within months, they are interacting with you, smiling, sitting up. Suddenly they are stealing the spoon from you hand and feeding themselves, throwing away the baby bottles and quickly destroying your toilet paper stockpile as they tire of wearing of diapers. While it’s happening, time and the memories of your children seem like a slow motion picture. Then, you wake up one day and its time to walk that same child into preschool or kindergarten and it can be sort of bewildering at just how fast it happened. Wake up another day and your child is asking you for the car keys, moving on to college or spending all of their time with a boy or girl that ‘they love.’ All of this in what seems like a small period of time filled with hundreds upon thousands of memories.
Our memories of what has been, and what is, are clearly, what tie us as a family together. It is these memories that build our familial foundation, that make simple things in your life like fishing on Easter morning traditions.
Right now, think back to your wedding. What song did you and your spouse choose as your wedding song? How do you feel now when you hear that song? Certainly, a lot has transpired between now and the moment that you said, “I do!” Probably some of those things in your timeline are painful to think about it. You may have a lot of expectations that were not fulfilled. You may have been disappointed at times. Heartbroken even. And intermingling with those memories are all the amazing things that have happened, many of which are what brought the two of you together in the first place. As you rewind through memories it is only normal and natural to realize that your life has been a complicated balance of good and bad memories. The good don’t erase the bad and the bad don’t overpower the good memories. And each has offered you something to learn, a reason to grow – and an opportunity to feel blessed.
Think back to when you first started your dream job. How many promotions have you had since then? How has your life changed since you first bought your new house? Can you remember the walls once bland and pasty white that are now filled with nail holes from the many arrays of color that you have added to them over time? Is there a mark somewhere in your home where you have measured your children year by year to somehow mark their growth in a tangible way that doesn’t involve the emotions and memories of them actually growing away from you?
What is the first car you bought? Do you remember how it felt to get behind the wheel of it? How frustrated you were that the heater core leaked antifreeze over your nicest pair of leather shoes? For just a few minutes at least, wouldn’t you love to somehow have those first feelings of freedom and independence from your first car purchase back? The good news is that you can through your memories.
One of the best things about making memories together with the people you love is that you always have the choice to go back to them. Memories are our legacy. Memories are the things that no one can put on their tombstone because they live so exclusively in their hearts. And memories are a completely personalized journal of one’s life.
The memories you have of your life as a spouse, as a parent – are completely different from the ones that your spouse has of you or the kids have of their childhood. Each person chooses which memories to keep in their file, and each endeavor in our life as a family touches the individual members of our family differently. But put all those memories together, and you are left with a patchwork quilt of your life that will not only keep you warm when life grows cold – but also keeps the light of happiness alive.
Many people, reaching the end of their life begin reminiscing about their life. It is often surprising to the other people around them the memories that they choose to recant. Sometimes, it isn’t the big moments, the ones wrapped in silver bows that somehow are accompanied with loud bells and giant whistles that people cling to. But rather the little ones, like a moment years ago that you spent driving around with your now husband or wife, listening to stupid songs on the radio together. Or the first time your child said he or she loved you. Or the silly tradition that you had as a child which somehow always managed to make your bad memories less important.
Whatever memories you are thinking about today, always try to remember that each and every day is a new opportunity to make memories together.