One of the best things to come out of our weekly family Zoom calls has been revisiting shared memories. I grew up in a wonderful family – I was extremely fortunate to have parents who had the resources to give me and my brother what I now recognize as one of the best childhoods I could have asked for. They were strict but not TOO strict; they allowed us to stretch our wings as we grew; they gave us so many opportunities to learn, to grow, to find out who we were and what we wanted to bring to this world. Things were not handed to us – oh, no, far from it. There were many Saturday afternoons spent cleaning the bathroom / cleaning our rooms / doing other neglected chores in order to gain freedom for the evening. I honestly credit them with everything – because of that strong foundation, I am the person I am today. And I know how fortunate I was.

I’m also fortunate that we all like to spend time together. As evidenced by the weekly Zoom calls. I have always talked to my parents (on the phone, usually) at least once per week, and usually more. We’ve added family texts and daily emails to the mix, as well. To say that I am close to them – despite the physical distance – is an understatement.

Plus, the family members who have joined us (my spouse, my brother’s spouse and kids) also seem to enjoy spending time with us. That, or they tolerate us. Perhaps a bit of both.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that sometimes our family virtual get-togethers turn into rather hilarious trips down memory lane. Food. Vacations. Fights. Adolescent missteps that will never, ever be forgotten. (One of mine was, believe it or not, mispronouncing “adolescence”…. they have never let me live it down, despite my protestations that I was young and had read the word but had never heard it spoken.)

The food memories have been particularly hilarious lately. Oh, the things we ate. My mother is a fabulous cook, but, well, kids eat what kids eat. We ate Cheez Whiz “nachos” with tortilla chips. There was the summer I lived on vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup (and left the sticky bowls in my brother’s room, where the Nintendo that we were addicted to lived). The fish that my mother served for years – orange roughy – that we all detested and she insisted on cooking every week. The special requests (chili without beans, please!). The special meals, like the fried egg my mother made for my breakfast on the first day of fifth grade. Why do I remember that? I have no idea, but it stands out vividly in my mind. Sandwiches, fruit, and cookies for high school lunches. And finally, finally, moving into more, well, grown-up and modern foods… finding out that (except for my father) the family that eats sushi stays together. Homemade crab cakes on Christmas Eve. My mother’s epic chocolate birthday cake. Peach kuchen for my birthday (I’m the one non-cake person…). The pies and brownies served at my wedding (told you I’m not a cake person).

So many family meals, consumed with joy. So many memories.

For this one, turning to an odd source…

Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them. ~Bob Dylan

6 thoughts on “Memories…

  1. This was such a fun read and brought back some memories from my own childhood, from our old house with the huge garden, my mother’s Christmas cookies, and more.

    1. I find it fascinating how many of my memories include food! But when you think about it, food and family really do go together. For my mother, food is love. Nothing makes her happier than feeding family and friends good food. Many of her friends, who were my “extra moms” growing up, are the same way. I feel lucky to have such wonderful memories… I imagine you do, too!

      1. Definitely! It’s funny, what you say about your mother, is the exact description of my husband! He loves cooking, he loves his barbeque, and loves having parties for friends and family with lots of food.

        1. Oh, that’s interesting that your husband is the same way! I am definitely not… then again, my life has been so different from my mother’s, and never really offered the opportunities to host and feed friends and family. But, not necessarily something I would have wanted to do anyway! To each their own, I guess. 🙂

  2. I love to read that you’re so close to your parents and brother + family. I feel like, we have a similar setup in our family (my sister has a husband and two kids) and we all get along so well (we’ve taken vacations together with my parents!). It’s lovely to hear that you’ve been sharing old memories during your zoom calls and that you were all able to reminisce about the good old times <3

    1. I am so glad to hear of someone who has a similar relationship with their own family. I know how lucky I am that I actually LIKE the people I am biologically related to! That is definitely not everyone’s experience. We have taken multiple vacations together, too – my mother has been on a national parks tear in recent years, so there have been 3 family trips (not every year!) for those. It will be wonderful to see them again when it’s safe…which seems a long way off some days.

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