What’s a memory anyway?? In the charming children’s book Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, Wilfrid discovers the answer to this question. Wilfrid is a small boy who lives next door to a nursing home. He becomes best friends with one of the residents there named Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper because she has four names too. Wilfrid overhears his parents saying ‘Poor Nancy, she has lost her memory.” So, Wilfrid sets out to learn from the elderly at the nursing home exactly what a memory is. He discovers that a memory is something warm, something from long ago, something that makes you cry, something that makes you laugh, and something as precious as gold.
A memory is something warm:
Wendy: A memory that warms my heart is remembering standing next to my dad in church and singing “Silent Night” by candlelight every Christmas Eve.
Sonya: I remember being at the lake with my family when I was young. The sunshine and smiles and Coopertone smell… all make me smile. We still go each summer, and it still makes me smile.
A memory is something from long ago:
Wendy: My dad was electrocuted around 8:30 a.m. on December 31, 1974. I was 15 at the time but remember it like it was yesterday. He took in 7200 volts and it blew out his arm, his fingers, his leg and his foot leaving him in the burn unit for four months. He was soldier fighting through that.
Sonya: Walking down the hallway at school as a teacher and hearing another teacher ask, “Did you hear about what is happening in New York?” on September 11, 2001… then rushing to the watch the horrific moments in time take place on the TV in the library. I remember trying to comprehend it and trying to help frightened students make sense of their world.
A memory is something that makes you cry:
Wendy: Memories of losing all of my family makes me sad. My dad, mom, and brother are all together in heaven, and I miss them.
Sonya: “It’s all right to cry. Crying gets the sad out of you. It’s all right to cry. It might make you feel better.” I can remember singing those lyrics (or something along those lines – per my memory) in elementary school. To this day, I sing my rendition of it. When family and friends hurt, I hurt with them.
A memory is something that makes you laugh:
Wendy: A memory of buying every exercise contraption available and hoping it would work its magic is a funny memory of mine. Like the aluminum foil pants that my mom and I wore when exercising…guaranteed to help you lose weight. All it did was make us look like Martians from outer space. 🙂
Sonya: It seems like every single day my own guys – kiddos – children provide me with a cherished memory that makes me laugh. I have so many I don’t know which one to share… I actually do record these for any time I need a good laugh – most of which just do not seem appropriate for a public blog for some reason. A fairly recent one that can be shared – my oldest son was in the middle of a football game, and walked to the sideline, dug an apple out of this bag, ate it, and then proceeded to go back into the game. (Keep in mind – I was not quite sure if there was a time out or what was going on at that point.) When asked what he was doing, he simply shrugged his giant padded shoulders and replied, “I was hungry” and then ran back into the game. The other parents looked at me, and I just smiled and shook my head. At least the kid was prepared with a healthy apple in his bag on the sidelines. 🙂
A memory is something that is as precious as gold:
Wendy: Grandchildren are as precious as gold, so when my first grandchild was born 6 ½ weeks early and was in the NICU…to finally get to hold him was so precious.
Sonya: Selecting one is so challenging …I clearly remember the first time I held the boys after they were born (but I don’t want to copy Dr. C. since she had her memory picked first 🙂 ) so I will go with my memory of my three boys at Christmas. They were sitting in their PJ pants and santa hats – all by their own choosing – and reading together while they impatiently waited to open gifts. I tried to burn that one to memory because I know they will be grown much too quickly, and I am fairly sure their future spouses may not know what to think of their boyhood tradition as grown men – hopefully they never stop.
Now that the holiday season is upon us, it is the perfect opportunity to build some fabulous memories. It is also a time to remember and share memories of those we love who are no longer with us. Share your memories that are warm, from long ago, that make you cry, that make you laugh, and that are as precious as gold.
Our wish for you this holiday season is to celebrate the reason for the season, and to enjoy family time. Build a lifetime of memories today and always. Make memories today – don’t wait until tomorrow.
What memories do you have that you could share with Wilfred?
Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.