As I daydream with Jord about our future someday family, I often find myself reflecting on my own upbringing. When I think about my childhood, my favorite memories involve reading Golden Books with my family, rollerblading in the unfinished basement with my brother Brian, and playing Barbies with my cousin. I remember riding bikes with Brian inside the warehouse that my Dad worked in. I remember fighting with my brother about which one of us deserved or was assigned the “better” side of the Christmas tree to hang our ornaments on. I remember traveling ten long hours from Missouri to Sioux Falls every Christmas to spend time with our grandparents and our cousins. I remember crying whenever we had to leave Grandma and Grandpa’s house to head back to Missouri, but always feeling excited to see my friends as soon as we arrived home.
These memories, still potent and redolent with child-like joyful emotion, make me think about how simple memory-making is. As a child, all it took for me to make a lasting memory was an empty basement and some rollerblades, or a warehouse with high shelves and forklifts and trophies and pallets and long, geometric alleyways perfect for bike-riding. And now, as an adult, when I’m examining my life honestly, I’m finding that the same is true – I still delight in the simple opportunity of taking a walk with my husband and our dog to explore a little more of our town. I still feel energized whenever I head home for a weekend.
It’s memories like these that make me motivated to start traditions with my own children someday. I can’t wait to leave cookies for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph with my little ones. like we did as children. I am anxious to see what memories my children make with something simple like an empty basement, a Barbie, or a book. Or, maybe my children’s memories will involve something else entirely, like a river, or a camera, or a dog. But whatever object or occurrence catalyzes the memory-making of my future children, I know one thing for sure: I’ve found throughout my life that in simplicity, memories can be made. For my brother and I, it was never in grand vacations to far away places or in expensive toys that memories are made (though I won’t doubt that memories are in fact made in these instances). We never embarked on any fancy vacations as a family, but what we did do (rent a boat and a tube in Okoboji for a few hours, or go to Sioux Falls at Christmas, or play kickball with our neighbors in our cul de sac) was memorable enough for me. For me, for my childhood, and for my future children, I know that memories can and will be made from anything and nothing at all – even from a seemingly boring warehouse full of shelves.