What if we’re all like that? Like ghosts … in someone’s mind … gradually fading … fading … until finally … one day … we just disappear … drift into nothingness. Wouldn’t that be sad? ~WALTER WYKES, Fading Joy
Yesterday I wrote about a difficult time in my life of which I have incomplete memories. But on a lighter note from yesterday’s post…not all my forgotten memories have been trying times in my life. Many of them were funny little things that the kids have said over the years. Unfortunately though, many times I didn’t have a pen and paper handy and simply forgot to write those precious nuggets down. And I’ve forgotten them. Try as I might, those adorable conversations are gone forever. Not only are those memories no longer preserved for our family, but future generations will never hear about them either. Like the quote above, we can easily become ghosts in someone’s mind, and gradually fade if there aren’t stories to remember us by.
Over time, I’ve gotten better about journaling. When my oldest kids were young, I didn’t write much of anything down. I do have a journal that I wrote in here and there, and because of that, I do have a few memories I remember pretty well. (I have found there is definitely a correlation between writing something, reading it, and remembering.)
I wrote a lot more of the stories down with my youngest son. One of my favorite “funny” memories was when he was in preschool and he went to a nature camp for a week in the summer. One afternoon when I picked him up, he told me this story about how they caught butterflies and fed them to the tarantulas. I was appalled, and called my friend whose son was also attending the camp to find out if the story was true. Her son told her it wasn’t; mine stuck by his story. He described catching the butterflies, and told me that they weren’t moving when they gave them to the tarantulas. He never wavered from his story. The next morning at drop off, I asked the camp counselor about it. Turns out it was a TALL TALL TALE! They did catch butterflies (and then let them go!) and they told them they might be able to watch the tarantulas being fed later in the week, but stressed that there was never any discussion about feeding butterflies to the tarantulas! I turned to my son, and he had a big grin on his face as he said “Tricked you!”
Another one of those precious memories was at Christmas. At that point, my son was about 5 years old. After all the presents were opened, he turned to us with a sad look on his face, and said “I’m beginning to think that Santa never got my letter.” Of course my husband and I were panic stricken, because when your kids are young, you really want the holidays to be magical for them. We actually had a toy guitar hidden away upstairs that we had decided not to give the kids. I quickly ran upstairs, wrapped the guitar, and placed it by the front door. We then proceeded to “find” it and exclaimed that “Santa must have dropped this.” Even though I don’t think he had ever mentioned a guitar, that completely made his Christmas, and he played with that guitar for many years after.
I have a lot more funny stories that I remember from his younger years, and I know it’s because I wrote them down, helping me to remember the details. These memories are so precious. They’re family stories…history to be passed down to future generations! I wish I’d done a better job of journaling these “conversation gems” when my two older children were younger. But I’ve learned, and I’ve gotten better about documenting the stories. If you don’t document and preserve those memories, they WILL likely slip away. I know I don’t want to be a ghost in someone’s mind, gradually fading…write it down, so that you can remember, and future generations will know you and your family as well!