I was thinking this week about memories – specifically relationship memories.
When my son turned one, and I realized I was expected to buy him birthday gifts a mere two weeks after his grandparents and great-grandparents (and, yeah, maybe his parents, too) had spoiled him at Christmas, I realized I needed a plan. So we started doing birthday outings.
I figured that when my children grew up, they wouldn’t remember whatever cool toy I’d gotten them that they loved for all of five minutes. They would, however, still have the memories we’d built as a family.
And, okay, yes, I was also pretty pragmatic and a little financially broke. This plan ticked all the boxes, and we did birthday outings for years. The birthday child would choose the activity, and if we could, we’d make a whole day out of it.
As my son got older, he became less interested in outings, and it’s not something we do as much anymore. We do still have birthday breakfast every year, though. Even if that means I’m dragging people out of bed for a 6am breakfast because I need to be at work by 7. Someday he’ll look back and thank me… 😉
So, why are memories on my mind this week?
Yesterday was my husband’s and my 27th anniversary. And we have no wedding photos.
Years ago, we were moving from an apartment into our first house. The move was happening right at the end of the semester, and I was swamped with finals. We were also coming up on Christmas, too. To make things easier, we rented a storage unit and put most of our apartment – packed away into boxes – into it. That way we could still get out of the apartment by the deadline, but we could take our time getting settled into the house.
We closed on the house one week before Christmas. All of the Christmas gifts were already wrapped and in the storage unit, so we went to go start pulling those things out so we could take them to our new house. Only, when we got there, it wasn’t our lock on the door. Turns out, thieves had used bolt-cutters to remove our lock, taken our stuff, and put a new lock on the unit so security wouldn’t be suspicious.
All of our Christmas gifts were gone, yeah. But so was a Bible from one of my grandfathers who was deceased. So was a flag from another deceased family member. And so was our wedding album along with all the negatives.
Here’s the thing: Some of us like to hold onto mementos. Some of us like to hold onto memories. Mementos can be lost, though. And with enough time, even our memories can start to fade.
How, then, do we commemorate over two decades of love, laughter, and life together?
By living out our love each and every day. By putting the other first. By sacrificing. By being there. By – most of the time – not snapping back when someone snaps first. By folding laundry together. By bemoaning the state of the lawn and the traffic in the neighborhood. By laughing at each other’s bad jokes, and then laughing even louder when it’s a good joke. By supporting each other when the bad stuff comes along and celebrating with each other when the good stuff happens. By sharing Oreos – he likes the filling, and I like the cookie. By listening when it’s needed and speaking when it’s called for. By being there day in and day out. That’s love. And, yeah, that’s romance.
Romance looks a little different to me today than it did 20+ years ago. If I had those wedding pictures to look at, I might laugh at that young lady who thought she had it all figured out but didn’t have even a fraction of a clue. But you know what else? I’d tell her she has a lot to learn…and that it’ll all be worth it, that she will be better for it.
Because it is. And I am.
I hope you have (or find!) the kind of love and romance that endures the test of time and that you, too, are better for it.
Happy Friday, everybody!