Creating Special Memories

February 11, 2005 by  
Filed under Communication

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Well, it’s the middle of February, and I’m finally getting around to unloading the boxes so hastily packed before evacuating from the hurricane—OK, make that three hurricanes. Anyway, as I unpacked box after box, it struck me: the only things I thought to take were my most precious possessions…my memories. I’m sure you did the same. I packed scrapbooks, piles and piles of pictures I keep meaning to scrapbook, home movies, awards, and cherished preschool artwork. It really is amazing to realize when push comes to shove, how easy it is to leave most of our ‘stuff’ behind; the material possessions are just really not that important. It is the cherished moments we have captured in some way that matter most of all.

Glancing through the photos brought back all kinds of wonderful memories…. Like the time my son and I pet the giraffe before it was in vogue and were scolded by the zookeeper. Or the time that he ran down the soccer field pointing a crooked thumbs up toward us after he scored a goal. Or the times we walked along the beach collecting seashells, making sure to leave the live ones alone. There are so many wonderful memories….little things that mean a lot. And while some of these moments of long ago are times my son does not remember; I do. And they matter. They are special moments in time to cherish forever.

The middle of February can be an opportunity to create special memories, with the coming of Valentine’s Day. You know, the day set aside to receive chocolates, flowers and if you’re really lucky, jewelry. While gifts are nice, they are just ‘stuff.’ Just like the ‘stuff’ we so easily left behind when there was limited space in our cars, these gifts are usually not meaningful enough to create a lasting memory. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to be pampered, and made to feel special and loved. I just don’t think we should have to set a day aside to remember to do this or, for that matter, just do this only one day out of the whole year. Nor do I think that ‘stuff’ is necessarily the only way to show our feelings. It is, however, a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon the special people in our lives and make sure our loving message is being conveyed throughout the year. This is true for spouses or significant others, family members, friends and especially our children.

On Valentine’s Day when my son was younger, I would put red food coloring in his milk, make heart shaped pancakes with red heart smiley faces, and stick Valentines and chocolate kisses in his lunch box. These little acts conveyed a great deal of love and his little grins and red-milk kisses were the memories that would last, for him and for me. And what could make us happier than a hand made heart-shaped card that read, “I luv u Mommy.”

But throughout the days and months, we tend to get busy; and expressions of love can get overshadowed by baths, homework, jobs and finances. We may forget to tell our loved ones how we feel, and more importantly, we may forget to show them. Remember it is the little things that create cherished moments and special memories.

When it becomes too embarrassing to get a Valentine from your mom, it’s time to find new ways to create those memories. Young children are easy; the older they become, the more difficult the task. In my mind, time and attention are two key ingredients for building special moments. Alone time with your child is very important. And for those of you with more than one child, it is particularly special to them to have you all to themselves. Setting aside time lets your child know that s/he is important to you; and no matter how busy you are, time together matters. One-on-one opportunities, just you and your child, can create a wonderful moment to capture in your heart. It could be a movie, dinner out, an ice cream cone or a walk on the beach. It could be throwing a ball, swinging at the playground, or baking cookies. The activity is not what’s important; the time together is what counts. And even now, whenever he comes home from college, having a chance to spend time alone with my son is still my greatest pleasure.

So, as Valentine’s Day approaches, be grateful for the special people in your life and set your mind to show them how much you care about them throughout the year.

I wish you love, happiness and opportunities to create new special moments to cherish forever.

As published in the Hometown News.

© MMVI Vicki Panaccione, Ph.D.

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