Just Tell Yourself “I’m Making Memories”
by Christie Perkins
“We’re just making memories!”
It was something Grandma always said when plans fizzled, plopped, or dropped; when the days course when askew or blew.
She always said it at the right moment. At the flicker of a face scrunching episode she would immediately interject the distractor phrase: “we’re just making memories.” The squished face always detoured and softened to a half smile.
“So true.” It was impossible to disagree and a little chuckle changed my perspective.
And oh, the memories I’ve made: getting stuck in an elevator, breaking down on the freeway, discovering my child decided to go mud sloshing in new pants moment; tripping all over my piano piece then making a copycat trip down the stairs (in a skirt) at my child’s baptism. (Apparently stairs and piano keys have the same affect on me.)
Memories. Oh, I would definitely call it that.
But, you know- she’s right. What memories we make. Take all of those things out and I’m left with what? Dishes, laundry, and a snore induced journal.
That’s so lame.
Grandma could turn any “situation” into a memory. Take, for instant, my visit to the lake. I learned that you must always take a swimsuit when you visit Grandma Hayes. Always.
Maybe that’s a given but I was headed to a slimy fish lake. With seaweed that eerily danced at the waters edge, the buzz of flies, and a random fish head rolling around, swimming never crossed my mind. Why would it?
But despite the fact it was a fish lake associated with… smells, it was beautiful there. Every year my Grandma and her sisters would camp with their trailers a short distance from her home. It was a private lake. Electric neon dragon flies always caught my eye. My feet grasped the cool grassy area while dogs greeted me with sloppy lips and licks. Everyone there was happy.
It was the closest to home I’ve ever felt being away from home…well, except for the swimming incident.
I was around 11 years old when Grandma asked the unspeakable: “Just put on a t-shirt and keep your undergarments on.” The other cousins were at the lake already with their conveniently located swimsuits.
She read my expression. “It’s a hot day. It’ll feel so good!” She raised her eyebrows and her eyes lit up. She’s right, it was hot. Not even a breeze. Next thing I knew I was putting on an oversized bulky t-shirt. I can’t believe I’m doing this! But I did.
Grandma walked me down to the polar plunge drop off. I swear she had a little of that “brother mentality.” You know, where they know a secret of a moment but they wait to avoid ruining the reaction. It’s always about the reaction with brothers. I dipped my toe into the lake and in an instant my legs produce vanilla slush crystals. Grandma’s reaction stole my own.
“Oooohhh!” her eyes were wide and smiles were stamped all over her face. She knew it was cold. She added her characteristic giggle. But still the lake drew me in, inch by tortured inch, until I plunged in.
I had a blast. Grandma forced me into this memory making moment. And I’m glad. But I learned a very valuable thing that day…
Never, ever, ever, wear a white t-shirt to go swimming.
Thanks Grandma. Thanks a lot.
And somewhere in the back of my memory I can hear the go-to phrase of this moment. It accompanies every misconstrued plan, “We’re just making memories!”
Sprinkle Your Life With More Memories
Several years ago, long before I had cancer, I woke up with the pressing need to make more memories. I needed to make time to let go of the to-do list (and I do like the to-do list), to laugh more with the kids, family, and people, in general; play around with them more. I shouldn’t just sit on the edge and let my eyes do all the work in their play but involve my head, hands, and feet. I’m still not very good at it but I’m working towards being better.
Just create a simple memory once a day. That’s it. Make your personal mark in someone’s memory. Then write about it in your celebrate the day journal. If you don’t have one, start one.
Dip that toe in the lake… but, by all means wear a black t-shirt.
4 Simple Tips To Creating More Meaningful Memories
I love the quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Life is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured.” Here’s a few tips to creating more meaningful memories:
Have Fun Together. Find common ground and enjoy “your thing” together. As a kid my dad and brothers worked on rockets and did rocket launches. My mom and I shopped and talked. Do whatever it is that you like to do. Our family loves hiking, “midnight” bike rides (Eastern Standard Time), moonlight walks; star gazing. What do you do?
Start a Weekly Tradition. Do something, anything, together. Keep it simple. Hold a family game night, candle light dinner, read a story together, play dodgeball, watch home videos… or even better: create home videos, do a weekly cookie run. Whatever you do, just have fun.
Tip: include food and your memory will be more vivid because you will be involving more senses.
Plan a Vacation. I have lots of vacation memories as a kid. We went every year. Mostly we went camping but we sometimes visited new places. Vacations don’t have to be extreme to be enjoyable but even switching it up slightly creates new memories.
Start a New Yearly Family Tradition. We all have fun things we do. Try throwing in something new this year. Do a fun run, have a dance off, cut wood, instigate a car wash fundraiser and give the money to someone who needs it, create a family band and perform for someone, have a jello fight day, have a monopoly tournament from sun up to sun down. Do whatever.
And when something in your memory making plan goes askew- you know what to do. Slap on that smile and say, “Hey, look, we’re just making memories.”
Tell us about some of your favorite memory builders. What do you do? My readers and I would love to hear from you. Take a minute and share your comment (don’t think it’s lame… it’s not) , then check back for some fantastic ideas from others. Thanks a bunch!
Hope you enjoyed reading. On some devices my share buttons are a little tricky to find. To access, click on the comment bubble to load up my share buttons and scroll to the top of the page. My share buttons are underneath my title. Click and share! And oh, have a fantastic day!