My younger daughter was in the middle of a fight with her older sister on Christmas morning. She had to leave for work at 6 a.m. and her sister wouldn't move the car until she, "asked nicely." It was insanity. My daughter told me that when she started the car, the lyrics playing on the radio were, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas." Her head was pounding, she was in tears, but she started to laugh. That's the memory that will stay with her.
We had lunch the other day at R. J. Grunt's in Chicago. She knows it's the one restaurant I choose over all the others because it holds happy memories for me. Each time I walk in, I feel like it's the late '70s and I'm wearing my Frye boots and tight jeans. She told me about dinner on Christmas night at her boyfriend's aunt's house. She brushed over the fact that her boyfriend's dad said that HE didn't invite her. Her favorite moment was when the aunt yelled back that SHE invited my daughter and was happy she was there. I did my best to hold back my rage against the little twit who wasn't thrilled to have my daughter at dinner. She sent me a text later that night that read, "Thanks for being my friend, mom." Thank you, sweetheart. That's my favorite memory from our lunch. The twit isn't worth my time. Not worth her time either. I know the boyfriend isn't right for her. What do I do?
I promised myself that I would start organizing the piles of papers downstairs. I actually started the project and came across the sweetest photo of my son when he played T Ball. He's 6 years old and holding a mitt. I moved the photo into the kitchen and each time I look at it, I smile. There was another photo of my daughters when they were 4 and 6 years old. They're walking down the street in heels and baskets on their heads. I showed the photo to my husband. Somehow that photo erased all the bad memories from the Christmas morning fight. Happy memories filled us with, well, happiness.
That's the key to joy. Happy memories. I'm sitting at the table reading my paper and a letter to the editor is from a gal who recalls happy times at Christmas when her children were young. Her husband is gone now. "It isn't like it used to be, but the memories are good."
I'm grateful for the happy memories. My resolution is to tap into those memories when life breaks me down. I'll look at the photos and smile. I'll be grateful to add new memories throughout the year. Hey....I CAN add new memories. I'm not limited to looking at a board with photos of my kids. Imagine a prison cell with a corkboard filled with images of your family. Happy memories from the PAST.
Looking forward to a Happy New Year. Happy Memories. Grateful that I'm free to build new memories.