Tag Archives: memories

Old Friends

silhouette of 2 people on park benchSomeone I was great friends with in high school but hadn’t seen for over 25 years recently moved a few miles away from me.  We’ve gotten a chance to reconnect and resume a friendship that was rooted in a small high school (there were 40 kids in my graduating class) and it’s been a really great experience.

While we lost touch after we went to college, having someone who knew me back when I was the age my kids are now has been fun.  It’s made me remember what it was like to be 15 again, all the good and the bad.  It’s great to see what parts of people remain true to their core, and which parts mature and mellow with age.  But it also affirms that the relationships our kids have with people now are important relationships that will come back to them when they get older.

For me, it’s made me take a breath and look at my kid’s friends.  Which ones will I still have hanging out at my house in ten years?  Which ones will I go to their weddings?  Which ones will be lifelong friends and which ones are people that just pass through our lives?

Those moments from middle school and high school where we found out who are true friends were, and those who were not, those moments that make us cringe and tear up even today- my kids are experiencing these moments right now.  I hope I can make some of it easier for them, and I hope they get through it with less scar tissue and more happy memories than most.

I feel really lucky to have great friends who’ve known me for most of my life still be part of my life today.  It’s  comforting to know that you can outgrow your immaturity, but still keep friendships and relationships alive, even after years of absence.  That’s the blessing of good friends, and I hope my kids are as lucky as I feel right now.

by Whitney Hoffman

Photo graciously provided by A. Strakey, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Save or Give Away

huge pile of toysThere is a TV show called Hoarders. I’ve only seen it a few times, but the fact that people cannot get rid of their “old” stuff, even spoiled food, fascinates me. I would probably be the opposite of a hoarder, a minimalist. So, I struggle with what items of my daughters I should keep or give away.

The other night my husband told me that a friend of ours keeps EVERY toy her children has every had. When they outgrow a toy she simply puts it in a storage box and plans to keep the items indefinitely. After hearing this I felt a little pang of guilt. My first thought was, What have I gotten rid of that I should have kept?

There are very few possessions I’ve kept from my childhood. My parents didn’t save any of my things either. All I have saved through the years are three stuffed animals, a handful of books, and my high school yearbooks.

My husband’s parents have saved many of his toys. Their garage is full of his Legos, baseball card collection, Star Wars collection, stuffed animals, Hot Wheels collection, Pinewood Derby cars, and a few other items. Slowly those childhood possessions are making their way to our house, where they are finding their new home in our closets.

There has to be a happy medium between keeping every thing my girls outgrow and giving it all way to charity or friends. Some of the items I have kept include blankets friends made for them when they were infants, blankets we received when we left the hospital, a few books that we used to read over and over again, a few baby outfits, and a few baby toys. I’ve started to save two outfits, one per child, whenever I clean out their dresser to make room for new clothes. But is this enough?

What about their toys? What is the purpose of saving them? Will they really use them when they have children? Will they want to? My girls have a ton of stuffed animals. I’m keeping ones that have special meaning, but there is a point of too many stuffed animals. And how long do you keep them? When will they outgrow them? I kept all of my stuffed animals until I went to college.

Sometimes it makes me sad that I don’t have more items from my younger years that I can share with my children. Yet, I know I wouldn’t have wanted me or my parents to save everything. How do you determine what items to keep?

by Kelly Damron

Photo graciously provided by PinkMoose, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Preserving Memories with Christmas Ornaments

amber colored glass ball ornament with other glass balls in backgroundAs I took down the Christmas tree today, I followed my normal routine of laying all the ornaments on the table and then carefully wrapping them one by one as I checked off a list. One of the eleven-year-old boys came by and asked me what on earth I was doing.

When I explained that I’m packing away the ornaments, same as I do every year, he just looked puzzled.

“Why don’t you just dump them in a box and close it up?” he asked.

I held up an ornament-a pink elephant balancing on a blue ball-and said, “This is the first ornament my mom ever gave me. It was for my very first Christmas in 1969. I pack these away so carefully because they’re precious to me.”

When I was little, my mom gave me an ornament every year and labeled each one with the year. Later she wrote out a list so I could remember. I still have her original list; I have since made a new one and added to it. I have written out every ornament I’ve been given and who gave it to me. A few have been lost or damaged, but for the most part I have them all.

I started similar lists for each boy, and keep each one’s ornaments in a separate box. When we get them out to decorate each year, I just hand each boy his box and let them go crazy putting their own ornaments on the tree. It only takes a minute to write down any new ones they get each year, and having the list helps me with putting them away and not accidentally leaving one on the tree.

To an eleven-year-old boy, I suppose the whole thing seems pointless.

I’m hoping he’ll understand…one day.

by AmyL

Photo graciously provided by fensterbme, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Grandparents

Time, they say, heals all wounds. While I don’t think this applies for every situation I do know that there is some truth to the statement. Five years ago we brought our daughters home from the hospital on Thanksgiving day. They had been born premature at 30 weeks gestation (which is 10 weeks too soon). They had spent 7 weeks in the Neonatal ICU and we were so excited to get the call to bring them home on the holiday.

Everyone was at our house anxiously awaiting the call from the hospital. The turkey was in the oven and the holiday spirit was in the air. My relationship with the in-laws was tense, to say the least. Things got worse in the days following our happy event. At one point I was ready to leave my husband because of the in-law situation.

My husband and I worked though our issues with the help of a counselor. Also, I think reading my book, Tiny Toes, gave him a new perspective into our relationship and that with the in-laws. I spent many hours in the counselors office working through my own childhood issues that were impacting me as an adult. Slowly the relationship between me and the in-laws improved.

It is funny how time can change things. This year they arrived a couple of days before Thanksgiving and I was happy to see them. I actually enjoy their company. Even more, though, I have to admit I love watching my girls enjoying time with Grandpa and Grandma. It truly fills my heart with joy.

I want my daughters to have a close relationship with their grandparents. It is something that I really never had and always wished it had been different. We would visit family about once-per-year. I didn’t get to hear stories about what it was like for my grandmothers when they were growing up. In fact, there are too many family secrets on my side of the family. So, I am encouraging the relationship between the grandparents (both sets) and my daughters. And hopefully when my girls have their families they will do the same.

What are some of the wonderful memories you have with your parents and your children?

by Kelly Damron

Family Vacations And School

the Matterhorn at WDWEvery fall since the kids were small, we’ve been taking my Mom and Step Dad on our family vacation to Walt Disney World. We go in the fall for various reasons: cooler temperatures, less crowds, and since my husband and I work for the Federal Government, October is the only slow month for us at work.

Our oldest is starting First Grade at the end of this month, and we are planning on going this October on the same trip, and will be taking our son out of school for 4 days (around a school day off). Our daughter will be starting preschool, so there’s less of a worry for her missing time. We plan on having them both do some worksheets while we’re there. We did this last year when our son was in Kindergarden. His new school does not encourage family vacations during the school year, but will not penalize the children other than the work they will have to make up. The only thing they ask is that the child keep a journal while on vacation. This is something my son has been doing with drawings the last two years anyway, so we’re more than happy to continue this tradition.

While I am a huge proponent of Education and value school highly and in no way do I want to take away from the huge positive impacts of our teachers in the classroom, I am fully willing to compensate for this missed instruction time in the early primary grades, and am comfortable taking my children out of school. I know that some teachers and other disagree, but I am going with what I believe in here. There’s going to be a threshold after which the workload when we return will exceed the rewards of getting one on one time with their grandparents and at that time, we will move our family trips to one of their school breaks. I don’t think that time is yet here.

When I was young, my mother and siblings and I traveled a lot with my Mom’s parents and I treasure those memories. I see my children already making those memories with my Mom and StepDad and I cannot tell you how much it lights my heart to give them that gift.

Until it becomes a hardship, I am happy to offer my children some time with their family while we’re all still here. Life is short. Live what you can and enjoy every minute.

by Rocket Science Mom

Photo graciously provided by Joe Penniston, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved