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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ideas for making family memories

So we had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Orlando...lots of family, great weather, Disney, several mornings of sleeping until 7:30am. Unfortunately, our family lost its patriarch the week before. My Pop Pop was an amazing man. Well, first off he put up with all the women in the family (we're ALL talkers, not just me.) Not just our yakity yakking, but our sermons on how we know best about various topics, our crazy antics, our quirky obsessions, and our bossing him around.

The man was 92 years old and had at least three mothers. I remember during one of his visits to our home, I had made him spaghetti squash with pesto. Now, I think it's absolutely delicious. But this is a meat and potatoes man. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking...maybe I had convinced myself that he'd think it was actually just pasta that was quite al dente? Anyhow, the man took his first bite and didn't say a word, but I could see his look of confusion- what is this girl feeding me??! Despite this, he finished it.

My memories of my Pop Pop include chocolate chocolate and more chocolate, with some trips to Disney, playing his favorite card game cribbage, sitting with him while he would watch Cash Cab or Dirty Jobs, dining at one of his favorite places, Bob Evans, and his famous expression, "Oh?"

I feel blessed that we were close. I made a point to call often, visit as much as possible, and plan vacations with him. Can you believe in the last 10 years of his life he travelled with us to Ireland, cruised with us through the Baltic, Alaska waters, and well as a few Caribbean Cruises. (I'm talking WITH the kids.)

And reflecting on the times we shared, my only wish is that my kids will remember him. Owen is only 5, Caroline 2....Hudson is only 7 months. Why did I not break out the video and tape more? Grrr. Pictures are just not the same. And so I urge those who would like to capture memories and precious moments...and create opportunity for you and your children to hold on to loved ones in your life, I give you these suggestions I wish I had thought of before I lost my grandparents:
-My grandmother was an opera singer...why couldn't I have taped her singing lullabies or children's songs...or even saved old tapes of her performing for the kids to watch???! How cool for kids to know something about their grandparents before they were grandparents?
-Record grandparents reading bedtime stories. Have you ever read, "I love you through and through?" A precious story. And how cool to hear a grandparent saying "I love you" to your child.
-Interview family members on their past. This is especially cool if they have stories to share that you may have not they met their mate, what they wanted to do as a child, their favorite flavor of ice cream....anything, really. If you have older kids, they can write the questions and do the interview. We were lucky enough to have a few interviews...whenever my Pop Pop would start telling an old sea story, I would turn on the camera and try and get it on film. And my cousin's son did a school project and interviewed Pop on how he won the Purple Heart, what it was like in the Navy, questions about fighting in a was wonderful!
-Capture moments of the family members interacting with your children. I have Pop Pop tooting a train whistle with Owen while they create a track for Thomas, reading him a sailor story book.

That's all for now....

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