As I reflect on this holiday break, the pictures that jump into my mind are not of the presents we opened or the food we ate, but the things I did with my family and friends. Life is about creating memories, not gathering things. As we move into this new year, I want to encourage you to not miss those little moments. These opportunities are sometimes subtle so keep your eyes open. Here’s an example of one I almost missed on the first morning of Christmas break.
While opening the curtains I saw a fellow Minnesota transplant skating on the little pond behind our fence. (If you know anything about MN it’s that their children learn to skate as soon as they can walk…preferably with a hockey stick in their hand.) Our middle son, who slept with a football/basketball/baseball glove instead of stuffed animals, was ecstatic! “Mom! Can we please go skate?” In sixty seconds flat the skates/sticks/gloves/pucks were all piled by the back door. Mine included.
I could have missed this opportunity. My coffee was warm, sweet and calling my name. I could have made him wait until I finished my coffee, until his dad woke up, until it warmed up a bit above a balmy four degrees, but if I did I would have missed getting caught up in his excitement. I poured my coffee in a travel mug, grabbed my ski pants and headed out with him. My time on skates was short, but I still “boot-skated” with him, chasing the puck and laughing. That’s a memory we will both have years to come. I hope that someday he will take his kids out skating and tell them about this Christmas memory.
Another memory that only took a few moments, but meant the world to my dad and I was on Christmas Eve. As a child, we lived in Denver and our favorite place to visit in the city was the Museum of Nature and Science. It’s like walking around in the movie “Night At The Museum.” My dad and I concocted the plan over coffee that morning and I loved hearing him tell me about the last time he was there. I was about my son’s age and my grandparents had came to visit, thirty years ago. I loved watching my parents with their grandsons, but then my dad took us around the corner to show us his “favorite thing he remembered about the museum.” The view of downtown with the mountains behind them. It’s breath-taking. I will remember my father’s content face while looking out that window. I made a promise to myself that day to not take that beautiful view for granted…something that can easily happen when you’re surrounded by beautiful views.
We are lucky that my husband’s company always shuts down between Christmas and the new year. It’s great to have him home and after fifteen years together I took a moment to file away a memory. I’ve had two pallets sitting around and we decided to attempt making a desk out of them yesterday. It was nice to hang out in the garage with him for five hours and just “be.” We didn’t talk about anything significant beyond how to build the desk but it was so nice to just hang out. At some point I remembered what a great team we make. Some couples might not work well together, but we do. I usually come up with some crazy idea that he has to help with. After all our time together we’ve figured out how to not only be efficient, but enjoy ourselves. I love that about us.
My oldest son remembers every detail about every single story he’s every read, seen or heard. I took him to see the play “A Christmas Carol” and I will always remember that special day with him. My youngest son is in the last stages of being a preschooler and I savored every moment of him being a sweet little guy. My middle son was outside when it was twenty degrees shooting hoops and chatting with us while we worked in the garage. I even made a few baskets myself! These are the memories I will hold onto.
Not every moment of every day is fun or easy. Especially raising kids. Remember to keep your eyes open for the little moments to file away. That is what life is about!