I was sitting on the back porch swing one night, hanging out with my dad when he said: “You were an easy kid to raise. I can’t think of One bad memory; you were a pleasure growing up.” Well, the first thing I thought, was he needed to be checked for Alzhemers.
I smoked my first and only cigarette at 6, never ran from an argument I didn’t believe in, didn’t take baths for most of year 9, stole the family car at 16, and most evenings, it was my dad’s job to be the family mediator. And I was EASY to RAISE?? Is there a Dr. in the house?
We often reflect on the good, forget the bad and change our life story. Milestones are memorable, boring stuff … ’em, not so much!
You can be in labor and think you’re giving birth to a bowling ball and a week later, you’re looking into those sweet baby eyes thinking, “When are we going to do this again?” Oh how quickly we forget.
Growing up, I lived a pretty normal life and like most, we remember those major events: our first date, first kiss, broken bones, stitches from a bike crash, graduating from college, the day you got married, the time you ran out of water hiking the Grand Canyon and we make our own story as if life is “Connect the Dots.” Except our story is constant. We often live for the next BIG THING, the next big event or mile marker, and life never really stops; it keeps going.
There are certain things that stand out in life, but there’s a ton of stuff in between that we forget. And they are just as important as the blinking lights along the side of the road. All the events, great or small, led us to the place we are today. If we forget, it’s as if we have deleted those files, making them obsolete, as if they never existed.
My dad has some of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard. Growing up with 7 brothers and sisters, he could have you laughing for days and never repeat a story. Often, the memorable stories are those that include drama, heart ache or surviving a situation by the skin of your teeth. It was a story that was exciting. Every day humdrum life is not exciting, but it’s valid.
My mom and I took a trip to Miami once and had a blast, but the one thing I remember most was being chased by a crazy taxi driver, who thought we owed him money. Now I’m sure we had some great conversations and exchanged heart felt moments, but that’s what I remember.
Write it down, keep a journal of the funny things your kids say, moments enjoyed on a fishing trip, a story your dad told, meaningful conversations with friends.
Let’s face it, as we get older, we get further from our story. In the movie “Australia” the little aborigines boy tells his friend that he has to go on a journey, a “Walkabout” to get his story. If he doesn’t go, he will have no story and will never Belong.
Getting a D on a Geometry paper or riding the bus home everyday is not memorable. Having someone spit Redman Tobacco out the front of a bus and have it hit you in the face, as it came through the back window, now THAT’s memorable. That’s my sister’s story. And I’m sure one that stands out in her mind.
Life is slow and long and there are incredible moments that happen in our lives that tend to stand out more than others, but don’t neglect the small things, the mundane stuff, the laying in the floor with our kids on a rainy day, hearing them laugh. The time you climbed a tree and secretly wished you lived there, listening in silence to the wind blowing quietly through the leaves.
Write it down. Record those giggles; they won’t always sound like that. Write down the little moments that seem so insignificant. We can go on the journey and find our story, but if we don’t write them down to pass along to the next generation, it’s as if they never existed; they never belonged. Go write your story.