I sit with my MacBook, lake in view, at a place that became a part of my family the same year I did, 1979. My grandparents had a vision of a spot where memories could be made. They purchased property in the north woods of Minnesota and created heaven. Fishing and exploring in the woods as a child. Building fires and telling stories as a teenager with my friends. Four-wheeling and roasting marshmallows with my own children. So, for the past thirty-seven years I have come to this place full of memories, past, present, and future.
Memories are a fascinating thing. They can be evoked by a place, a song, a touch, or even a smell. They can bring out feelings of sadness, fear, joy, or longing. Memories can take your mind to a place you may wish to return, or bring you somewhere you would do anything to forget. Memories are experiences and people.
My earliest memories are recouped when I am in our rustic cabin surrounded by family. Riding to the cabin in the covered back of a pickup truck which was kosher in the 80’s. Finding Easter baskets swirling around cousins who also believed the Easter bunny lived in a cabin on our very lake. Wearing bread bags in my winter boots to keep my feet dry while racing across trails hugging tight to the back of my dad on a snowmobile. I can always rely on these memories to bring a fond smile and brighten my day thinking of the next time I can be there to create moments with my own kiddos.
Building memories for them has brought a whole new perspective to life and what I want them to recollect. I try to make occasions both big and small for them to look back and smile upon. I would give anything to be certain their memories are filled with positivity and light.
Nearly five years ago a memory was forged for myself and my children that falls into the category of best forgotten. Unfortunately for myself, and more unfortunately for them, some moments are too big and significant to escape, even if you wish to. The day their dad and I realized our divide was too great, was ugly at best for me, but for them was earth shattering. The scene from their little perspectives I can only imagine was terrifying, and the tears that fell down all of our faces that day remained for months. Even now, my kids ask me about it and, though they were small, feel the discontent of that memory still.
What amazes me about them, and people really, is that there are memories that should defeat us, yet we get up again. The resiliency of my children during the last five years is astonishing. Because the beauty of memories is in our understanding and what we take from them. Learning after all comes from memory. Not just addition and subtraction tables or spelling word lists. But in our memories, lies knowledge that is beyond anything we can teach in a classroom. My children have a recollection of that day yes, but they also have every instance after. In each memory since that time, good or bad, they receive wisdom that will guide their own choices and future life stories.
Because of my unpleasant memories, I have also learned. I have realized my own resiliency and worth. I have discovered putting myself first does not mean I am selfish, but allows my true self to shine which means the people around me benefit in a way they never could have before. My so-called “bad” memories have made me and grown me into someone I can honestly say I am proud of for the first time in a long time.
Designing new amazing memories may be my passion now, however the old memories, ALL of them, remain what has made me ME. And from floating in a tube across the lake when I was young, to my darkest days, to looking at new cabins that my own little family will someday call our own, I cherish and hold tight every memory and hope you do the same.
Let’s talk memories, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your best or worst memory. I want to know what you appreciate and why! I look forward to hearing from you and wish you a summer full of wonderful memories.