Mom, why do you always stop and get a sweet tea every week on the way to church?
Megan, why do you always ask me, every week, why I stop and get a sweet tea every week?
Because I just want to know.
Well, what did I tell you last week?
I could give her the standard, weekly answer: I love sweet tea. In particular, I love this McDonald’s sweet tea and it’s not too likely that I’m going to drive by this McDonald’s and not buy a tea. Or, I could dress it up a bit and tell her that I’m making a memory.
My mom used to stop at a little Mom & Pop grocery store on the way home from church every Sunday. She’d buy a newspaper and I’d get to pick out some candy. During a certain phase in my life, I bought a pack of Star Wars cards — with a little, hard, flat rectangle of chewing gum inside — every week. I collected well over a hundred of them and kept them rubber-banded together in numerical order. Now, they belong to my son and are placed neatly in the slots of a baseball card organizer. In mostly numerical order.
I can still remember what that grocery store looked like on the outside, where the newspapers were kept, the lighting and how it felt to squat down in front of the wire candy stand, picking out my cards.
My mom just thought she was picking up a paper. She didn’t realize that she was making a memory.
Maybe my kids’ memories of my weekly tea won’t be as sweet to them since I don’t buy them a drink (Hey, 32 oz of sugar and caffeine would NOT be appreciated by the kids’ staff at church!), but it will be a memory just the same.
I used to go to my dad’s house every other weekend. Each Saturday, my step-mother would fry an entire pound of bacon…for three people. I love bacon. We’d eat every bit of it, along with either one of her famous plate-sized pancakes or my dad’s yummy omelets.
They thought they were just making breakfast. They didn’t realized that they, too, were making memories.
I know, though. So, now, I try to make memories with my kids. Sometimes they’re really simple, but memories nonetheless — the little seemingly trivial rituals of life. Sometimes they’re more complex — the once-in-a-while big deals that the kids will remember and treasure and tell their kids about some day.
Every Thursday night, we go to my sister’s house for dinner. My aunt lives with my sister. Her two sons and their wives and her two grandsons come, as do my mom and step-dad. Every week, we spend a couple of hours eating dinner and making memories with family that we might otherwise only see at major holidays.
Every Friday night, my kids camp out in the living room, watch movies and eat popcorn.
Nearly every Saturday morning, I fry a big pan of hash browns while Josh, my chef-in-training, fries bacon or Spam and makes the scrambled eggs.
Those are the more simple of our rituals.
Sometimes Dad breaks out the tent and he and the kids camp out in the basement on the air mattress.
Or, he might start a campfire in the front yard while I get the ingredients for S’mores together. Yes, we live in a subdivision. Yes, the neighbors probably think we’re a little strange. I don’t care. They probably already think that since we homeschool. 😉
Those are some of the more complex of our memory-makers.
None of them seem like that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but they’re the rituals that will tie our kids together when they’re grown and gone.
Do you remember how we used to camp out in the living room every Friday night, one might say to another at a Christmas dinner some day.
Yeah, or how about when we’d roast S’mores out in the front yard, another might answer with a smile.
Memories of growing up “at home” that tie my kids together once they reach adulthood. Maybe the “simple” ones aren’t so simple after all.
What memories do you enjoy making with your kids?