When you recall fond memories it’s about something that happened, not a “thing”. Even if it’s a special gift, that Cabbage Patch doll you were longing for, there’s a story behind it. It’s not just the doll, it’s the story of how it became yours. The real gift is the story.
What matters is the story.
My friend and I have an ongoing conversation about how trips and events are special, but what our kids will remember is the time we spent with them. Vacations are great and can be the catalyst for memory-making, but it’s the time we are together that counts.
You know what our boys ask for the most? Aside from treats and screen time, they are kids after all. Our time.
Play with me. Read to me. Listen to me. Tell me I matter. Show me I am important, that I’m valued.
“Can we go to a movie just you and me, Mommy? As part of my birthday present?”
“Wrestle with me, me, Daddy.”
“Can we go on a breakfast date?”
“Will you take just me to the store?”
“Tell us about the time you threw the carrot cake on the ceiling, Daddy.”
“Tell us the story of Uncle Rob running into the glass door.”
“Tell us again about the time your neighbour caught a skunk and Grandpa told you to throw pebbles at the trap to see what would happen.”
“Tell us again how Auntie broke her arm.”
Tell us again.
Stories. Remember? Remember that time?
We’re creating stories with every meal we eat together, with every crazy family dance time, with every time we patiently wait for an unsuspecting family member to exit the washroom so we can yell “Boo!” With every family movie night.
“Remember the time Big poked the kiwi?”
“I didn’t poke it!”
“We saw you!”
“It just looked like I did.”
“I watched you pick it up and your finger went right through the skin.”
“No, the hole was already there.”
I can recite this script verbatim because we have jointly retold it dozens of times. It even has a theme song. It’s become Moyer family folklore. It’s one of our stories.
Remember? Remember that time?
“For Christmas I want to take you for frozen yogurt to that shop you said you wanted to try, Mommy. Can we go today? I can show you how it works, you make it all yourself. I’ve got enough money for both of us.”
And so we add another story to our collection.
“Remember that time we went for yogurt, just the two of us, and I got coconut and gummi worms and you got two flavours?”
Remember that time?