Tonight after her shower, all warm and cuddly in her pyjamas, Lucy grabbed my arms and clasping her left hand in my right hand, we started the silly pretend ‘tango’ that we often do around the house. As we giggled and moved, I felt a special memory surface in my mind of the time my grandad Carter taught me how to waltz.
I don’t remember exactly how old I was at the time, probably around 10 or so but I remember how patient he was as he counted the beats and held my hand, guiding me around the living room carpet. It’s a happy memory, one of warmth and love and thinking about it now fills me with love and gratitude.
I have always loved visiting my nanny and grandad. When I was a girl, it was always warm, there were always treats to eat and most importantly from a child’s perspective, my nanny and grandad would always play with us. I remember my grandad playing tennis with me against the wall in the driveway, lazy afternoons doing handstands on the grass while they watched and the endless games of uno we had with my nanny. One of the highlights of my childhood was actually when she managed to beat my older brother, who always won everything, at monopoly.
Now I live far away and am no longer that little girl, but as I remember, if I close my eyes I am back there again, holding on to my grandad’s hand.
As I have grown older, I have realised that what remains in my store of memories is the stuff that really matters. I don’t remember most of what I learned at school, what I got for Christmas most years of my childhood or what my adolescent bedroom looked like, but I remember how much I loved baking with my nanny and I remember how it felt to dance with my grandad. They are the best kind of memories, infused with love and happiness and I will cherish them forever.
Sometimes when I feel like I am a hamster on a wheel, endlessly running, rushing and not really getting anywhere, I worry that my life is passing me by, that I haven’t achieved all I could have done. I am yet to travel the whole world, write the books I had planned, learn to sew or climb any high mountains, but what I have realised, is that it doesn’t really matter. Out of the busy-ness, what I remember and treasure the most when they surface in my memory, are the moments of happiness and peace spent with special people. Holding hands, smiling faces, the feelings of belonging and warmth. Love.
I often make lists of all I have to be grateful for but today, I have decided that I will start a new project this September. A list of my favourite memories. The precious times I have shared with grandparents, parents, family and friends that often surface in my mind. It will be a record of the most special moments in my life so far and the most precious store of treasure I have.
September always seems like a good time to start a new project – I’ve been conditioned by years as a teacher to see it as the second new year- and the joy that stems from new stationary and a blank notebook makes projects like this seem even more exciting!
Why not spend some time today reflecting on the happiest memories you have? Maybe you could share your favourite childhood memories with someone else or even write them down.
Have a lovely day x