Thursday, December 10, 2015

living in a memory

Toward the end of October, when we got home from our Oregon road trip, Stephen's older brother and our oldest nephew flew down for a visit. It was short but sweet, filled with lots of Legos, swimming, exploring and wrestling. We've never been able to host Stephen's siblings, because it has always made more sense for us to go up North, so it was an extra special visit for us and I'm so happy we were able to spend a few days with a couple extra Wall boys.

Jon and Triston left our place on a similar road trip we had just gotten back from - a chance to see the Redwoods, the California coast and to visit our grandparents in Oregon. Jon texted along the way to keep us updated on their travels and one particular text was sent with a lot of enthusiasm. Jon was having such a great time with his son - one on one time that they rarely get. You could tell they were both getting so much fulfillment and joy out of their trip.

I mentioned to Stephen how fun that must be for Jon, knowing Stephen would love a week away with just Uriah, but that Triston was at such a great age for it, too. He turned four in September and there's a good chance this trip will make it into his long term memory. This adventurous road trip with just his dad, exploring new towns, splashing in the hotel pool, visiting family, playing outside... These will be some of his first memories.

That's when it occurred to me - I'm not even in Uriah's memories, yet. All this - all the time and energy and effort, all the laughs and forts and games and adventures and trips, all the yelling and disciplining and mistakes... All that we're pouring into him and doing for him... He's not going to remember it, any of it. So does that mean I shouldn't try so hard? Is this time and effort then wasted? Is that an excuse to not have those adventures and do that exploring and make those memories?

He might not remember this, but will. If anything else, do it for the selfish reasons. When he's older and bigger, this is all we'll have. The memories of hiking through the woods with two year old Uriah, repeatedly singing "The Ants Go Marching", stopping every few feet to pick up another acorn. It still matters.

This is his childhood. As we create those memories, even ones he won't ever be able to recall, they are his childhood - they are shaping him and molding him and making him. He might not remember the specifics, but he is learning and growing and changing and the memories you choose to make during that time, the memories that he won't have, will define him.

My mother-in-law once said that she viewed her time with her grandkids as "living in a memory". What kind of memory are you making it?

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