Today my husband took our sweet curly hair boy to his first Wisconsin Badger Game. This is a big deal for them. Besides the “guy time” our curly hair boy loves all things basketball—especially the Badgers. We were all sitting on the couch before they left talking about the game. I told him that someday, when he is an old man, he will remember this day. He will think back to the moment his dad took him to his first Badgers’ game and how wonderful it all was. I told him that today he should take the game in with his eyes and ears and then store it into his heart. This day was a big deal and well worth the remembering.
Our days don’t always hold such big events as a first basketball game, but usually there are special memories in the making worth stopping for and storing in our hearts. Cesare Pavese says “we do not remember days, we remember moments.” It is important to take time to notice these moments that are meaningful. I remind myself to slow down. Moments that could be lost in the shuffle of busyness may really be a gift to be remembered.
Yesterday we went to our son’s winter choir concert at his school. It was filled with all the usual moments—lots of children all crammed on a stage in various stages of excitement, rows of proud parents, family, and friends, holiday decorations and an occasional giggling baby. The lights were dimmed and I tried to snap some pictures of my boy who was initially barely visible behind the piano. I saw lots of other people, like me, holding their phones either recording or taking pictures of the children while they sang. I got lucky when I realized I couldn’t really get a good picture and just snapped a few. I put away my phone (mostly) and just sat more and took it in. For me, I sometimes struggle with spending too much time taking pictures. I try to capture the moment for later, when the event is happening now. Setting my phone down made it easier to drink in the moment more as I listened to the voices blending into song. When I did catch his eye, he saw me watching him. This was a big deal well worth the remembering and I stored the moment in my heart.
Beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss says “Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.” I think about how I am living and also how I will be remembered. What am I building into my relationships that will be well worth the remembering? Will my curly hair boy carry with him in his heart my silliness? Will he talk someday about our traditions like Finnish pancake Fridays with a certain fondness? Will he remember in his heart that he is my best gift? Will he have memories of me standing true to my convictions? How am I living that will create memories that are a big deal, well worth the remembering, and will become part of the hearts of the people I love? This gives me pause as I think about the choices I have in how I want to live my life. It reminds me that my life has meaning well beyond the here and now.
Voltaire reminds us that “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” With a new year coming it is a perfect time to reflect on what I want to do with my time. What memories, in the making, are out there waiting to be lived? Will I put my cell phone down and dismiss my distractions long enough to see what is in front of me? What memories already in my heart, given to me by others, can pass along as continued gifts? This is how life is created and remembered. Emily Dickinson says “the soul should always stand ajar ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” The Dalai Lama reminds us to “Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.” 2017. A new start for memory making. A new time to “welcome the ecstatic experiences.” Fill your hearts, and the hearts of those you love, with what matters most. Life is a big deal well worth the remembering. Happy New Year!