Making Memories

We were to cut down a Christmas tree.  It’s our tradition–and it was the plan.  I could just post the photos, and it could look like a lovely family memory. Or, I could tell you how it really went down.
I cheerfully reminded everyone an hour ahead of time, so the morning could be semi-leisurly and still we wouldn’t be late for the little cookie shindig in the afternoon.  And then I reminded them again.  Shelby was heavy into her homework, Andy was arguing with the plow truck, and Daniel was ready–because he is always game for anything Christmassy.

Time wore on, and I kept nagging…Let’s GO LE’TS Go!
In Andy’s plow truck distraction, he’d spaced the whole event.  But he recovered quickly, with feigned cheerfulness said …”OK, let’s go!  Who is ready to cut down a tree?!  I had to give him credit for good attitude, but we could all hear the strain behind his voice, and it wasn’t spreading Christmas cheer.  Not at first at least, but he is on to something—eventually when a guy fakes a little cheerfulness, he becomes cheerfulness.Shelby thought she might beg off this year, she thought she should just stay in her jammies doing her homework. 
I had to grit my teeth without hiding anything….”We will ALL cut down a Christmas tree it is our TRADITION, and we will ALL have FUN, DARN IT.
So, we all headed out.  Andy asked winter staffer Andrew to come with us, which was a good thing because we were now censoring any family time snippy comments.  Shelby did lean over and quietly say to me–if you take ONE photo of me, I’m so out of here.

The snowy woods were fairly enchanting, and we joked a little bit about the damn tradition, and eventually we all fell under the spell of the woods on a fresh day.   When you have 17 acres of trees…..the trick of finding the “perfect Christmas tree” actually turns into trying to find a weedy Charlie Brown balsam with a decent shape that is also shading the growth of a nice little white pine.  We did find a good one this year.  We were all having fun in the end….honestly…………….but………..what I’m really wondering is…what memories will we take from it?   It’s all in a person’s perception isn’t it.  Will it be—finally mom got so cranky that she practically swore at us so we had to trudge out of the house?…….or will Andy remember the plow?…..or….will the snippiness fade away, and it’ll be just another year of a nice family tradition? 

I’ll tell you what—the cookie baking party afterwards was just as cozy as it looks.  Who cared that we were 2 hours late? Way to plan it Ceaster! 
Know why the big crowd around the monopoly board was whittled down to Lars and Ritchie? Don’t they look like nice and fun guys? They are, but  they also cheat, and that’s the truth.

These were good people, good snapshots of time.

But—really, is that all we want to remember?  Is selective memory the blessing of it all?  Maybe we’re wired to simply cling to the good stuff.  Does it take away the texture, or does it leave us feeling full?

I don’t have any photos for the gangly hug I just got from my 14 year old after he got up off the couch from napping.  Not only are his arms and legs too long to hug me the way he’s used to, he’s also grown old enough to feel guilty for napping too much on a Sunday.  Isn’t that ridiculousness?  He’s only 14.   A very conscientious 14.  I hope I remember our short little conversation–where I said “Daniel, if we were orthodox Jews you wouldn’t have been allowed to do anything ‘productive’ today.  And he draped himself a little tighter and so sincerely said “thanks mom” before he stumbled up to bed that I got the little prickles behind my eyes sensation.  No photo for that one.

Denali doesn’t really like Andrew’s sweet Sadie lab.     She either wants to stay away, or they occasionally snap at each other.  But look at the glee in the photo….this is the way I want to remember the day.  It was glee for that moment.   Obviously.  Why not just remember the glee?

4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    just absolutely beautiful!!!

  2. good questions, Sue, and lovely photos. I wonder about my selective memory as I feel homesick–have to remind myself that I get in a funk every November and it isn’t due to India, for example.
    I was wondering the same thing about holidays over Thanksgiving and thinking they are most for 10-year-olds, but we keep doing them because it reminds us of being about that age ourselves.

  3. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  4. Jerry V says:

    I think you’ll remember it all and with a smile!

    Thanks for a wonderful entry.