What are your family memories?

My how times have changed.

I borrowed the family history from a 96-year-old friend. She recorded the stories of her husband and his sisters, in 1996, before they passed away. The story started with a wedding in 1909 and chronicled life growing up on a Maryland farm outside of DC.

The first description to capture my imagination was from a rare trip to West Virginia to visit family. “There were no surfaced roads in the mountains, just wagon trails. The kids would get out of the car, and stand on the running boards, on the upper side of the car to keep it from upsetting.”

How do you celebrate your history and marvel at how things have changed?

I neglect to retell my personal stories, as I don’t think my kids are interested. Failing to recount our common stories is to the detriment of our shared lives.

We make memories when plans go wrong, and serendipity arrives on a white horse. No one remembers the hours in the garden until the rabbits eat the crop, the snake appears, or Dennis the Menace ravages the flowers with a lawn mower.

Life tends to get caught in the slipstream of the mundane and get quickly swept away. Better is to embrace the ordinary and recognize the interruptions as opportunities to make memories.

In the postcard, the eyes of the young man crossing the 1930’s street haunt me. Who was he and where was he going? What remarkable girl made him smile? What anxieties kept him awake? Whatever happened to him? Did he even notice his picture being taken? For him it was just another ordinary day, yet preserved. Leaving me wondering 80 years later.

How do I treat my mundane moments? Do I see this as a moment in my life never to be repeated? Moving the paper from the inbox to the outbox, or filling the toddler’s cereal bowl again; this is where life is lived. Would we treat it any different if it was to show up on a postcard in 80 years?

It is possible to appreciate grandpa sleeping in the recliner every Sunday afternoon and fireflies in pickle jars each late summer evening.

How can you celebrate the moments in your life together?

What experiences are waiting to be shared and laughed at?

What are your equivalent “kids on the running board” stories?

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