Monday, May 05, 2008

M is for the Memories She Gave Me….

Mother’s Day reminds me of the memories my mom gave me.
It was a cold and snowy winter in 1978 in Erie, Pennsylvania and mom and I were working on my decorations for my first big birthday party. We made a paper mache snowman and set him on a tinfoil ice rink surrounded by cottonball snow. It was beautiful. Then mom made her delicious homemade bread dough which became pizza dough for my 9th birthday. I was particularly proud to have eaten 9 pieces of pizza on my 9th birthday!
It was a rainy Sunday afternoon in the spring of 1978 and my little sister and I were looking for something to do. Mom put on her South Pacific musical record and she began to dance across the green shag carpeting with us. We were doing mom’s version of the hula dance, and we even took it one step further by figuring out how to write our names with our hips—like the cursive handwriting we were learning in school. We laughed and laughed and danced and danced.
It was a sunny summer afternoon in 1979 and mom took us to Lake City, Pennsylvania to meet my dad, a mailman, for lunch. We went up and down the streets of Lake City looking for him and we were so happy to finally find him and eat our submarine sandwiches together at a local park. We probably sang in the car on the way home—mom always had a million good songs to sing in the car.
It was a brisk fall morning in 1983 and mom was up early with me to help me deliver the Erie Morning News. We had to hurry to get the papers delivered before I had to get to school. She folded the papers in the car while I delivered them or she delivered her side of the street while I did my side. I knew she didn’t have to be out there in the wind and cold with me, but she was always ready and willing to help.
None of these memories required my mother to spend any money, but they are the first to pop into my mind. Why is that? How can we create memories that stick with our children and grandchildren?
1) Use your creativity and all the senses – Could you make a paper mache snowman? Could you turn a boring, rainy afternoon into an afternoon of Hawaiian hula dancing? Could you go on a picnic TODAY? Could you distract those little eyes away from a computer game to make their own computer or TV out of a cardboard box? Could you transform making dinner into a cooking show with your kids or grandkids being the stars? Of course you can!
2) Be spontaneous and a little crazy – Break into a song in the car. Don’t worry that your kids or grandkids might not like it. You might be surprised at how quickly they join in and then request that song again and again. Stop what you’re doing and go play “Hide and Seek” or chase them around with a “Tickle Monster” game. Loosen up, forget the pressures of life for a while, and act like a kid again. They’ll remember that.
3) Be consistent and strong. Kids and grandkids will remember that you never gave up on them. You helped them with homework. You helped them run that lemonade stand each summer. You helped them deliver their newspapers. You made them clean the bathroom even when they didn’t want to do it. You helped them clean their room once in a while. They won’t forget that you were there for them. You were and are supportive and ready to help.
I am blessed that my mother is still creating more memories with me and my children. I will do my best to follow in her footsteps. Thanks for the memories, Mom.
Beth Sanders is the founder of LifeBio.com and author of the Memory Journal. In 1993, she interviewed her grandmother and realized that she never knew her as well as she could have until that day. Her passion for family history and stories has helped thousands enhance relationships and create a lasting legacy. For more information visit LifeBio.com.