My kids will say I have many mottos in life but I want to talk about my Memory Building Motto. Why? A few years back I learned the real value of memories. I have always heard that when we die we can’t take anything with us but our memories.
Yes, it always made sense to me.
No, I did not always TRULY KNOW this.
I found more value in working harder to buy things and do projects, mostly to make my house a home. As a young child, we weren’t super-rich but we had our memories consisted of family traditions, such as Christmas Eve Parties and Fathers day picnics, camping trips, playing outdoor games with neighborhood children, or working together in the yard. As a young mother creating memories consisted of survival. Just getting a good night’s sleep. Paying the bills, taking my kids to the library for free entertainment, storytime and nap time, grocery shopping, and did I say…nap time. Our getaways were camping trips that were often nightmares and more expensive than going to Disneyland. I was very fortunate to learn how truly important making memories are; simple or go big, it doesn’t matter…just make them.
I learned this lesson when my grandparents took two of my children and myself back to the East Coast to do an American History and a history tour of our faith. We visited
- New York,
- Colonial Williamsburg and
- Washington D.C.
Grandpa said he would rather spend the inheritance he would have left as memories instead of leaving us money. On our trip, he would joke “here’s your inheritance.” I didn’t think about it much it was an escape from real life and was learning more about our history than I ever had in history class.
Grandpa and my mom spent months planning our trip so we had anticipated excitement. We even surprised grandpa and had made us all matching shirts that said, “Grandpas History Tour.” The shirts got us attention when the American Airlines Pilot stopped to talk to the younger kids and asked what kind of group we were with. He was shocked to find out Grandpa Chandler was taking three generations on a history trip back east for two weeks. He said we should be on the news and the kids thought it was special to have a Pilot take time to chat with them.
We spent two super amazing fun-filled weeks traveling. We laughed, we learned so much and Grandpa was extremely proud that he was an eighty-year-old man that could keep up with young kids. We had to move fast to hit all the historical sights we wanted to see in two weeks. At night we bonded with each other spending a small part of the evening in the girl’s hotel room to work on a song for Grandpa for Father’s Day, which we would be celebrating while on our trip. We knew there was nothing we could buy him because he could just buy anything for himself. The song was something you can’t buy. It was priceless. The song was the bomb!
The song consisted of a summary of our day. We wrote it to the tune of The Beverly Hillbillies. We laughed so hard making this up and presenting it was even better. I know without a doubt this was Grandpas favorite gift EVER!
Our creating memories continued even once we came home. We decided to recreate the song in a music video. It was a hit. Grandpa would show this video to anyone that walked into the house and smiled ear to ear every time.
Here is our fabulous song. It included a line or two of each day throughout our trip. Yes, it’s pretty bad! And even better treat if you want to watch it. lol Remember those many years ago when we videoed it we didn’t have great equipment and our writing and singing skills were just out of this world anyway so we figured our awesomeness would make up for it. (sarcasm)
Ballad of Grandpa’s History Tour
Come listen to a story ‘bout a man named Wayne
Some people thought that he might be insane
When he loaded up his family to go back East
Took 4 generations at the very least(daughter, granddaughters, and great-grandkids)
Got matchin’ shirts in red & blue
Excited Grandpa said “Good for you”
The airline pilot said don’t you snooze
Because you all could be on the news.
It started in Colonial Williamsburg
We had ponchos on so we all looked like nerds
We saw the forming of a future government
Now that’s-becoming independent.
Three English ships came to the Continent
Jamestown was named the 1st settlement
Pocahontas & John Smith were a lie
She married John Rolf & in England did die
(Gold, Glory, God-that is)
Jefferson’s home was next on our list
He was known as the first archeologist
He was the third president & a fine fellow
His house was named the Monticello
(That’s on the nickel)
We went to see the Liberty Bell
The next day Great-Grandpa & Grandma fell
We continued on to Independence Hall
Where we all learned a lot & all had a ball.
We went to the Mint where coins are made
While we went in Grandpa waited in the shade
“Girl Power” rules at the Betsy Ross House
Where she made the flag as quiet as a mouse.
Our next destiny was the Statue of Liberty
A gift from the French in 1886
We drove all day & a motel we stayed
Just might hit that news if our floor falls through
We went today to the Sacred Grove
Part of the day we drove and drove
Ancient records were buried near here.
These are the things that we hold dear.
Today learned that “Freedoms not Free”
A soldier told us that under a tree
Gettysburg was a battle in the Civil War
Lincoln gave an address when the nation was sore
(4 scores & 7 years ago)
In D.C. there’s symbols of sacrifice
Taken from many walks of life
We went to see the kids in the Holocaust
They all had families, some were lost.
Well now, it’s time to say goodbye to Wayne & all his kin
We would like to thank you folks for kindly dropping in
Your all invited back next time there is insanity
To have a heapin helping of our hospitality.
Chandler that is. Sit a spell. Take your shoes off.
Y’all come back now y’ hear.
Silly song but we will remember making it forever.
A few short years after this trip, Grandpa felt dizzy. Grandpa being an extremely healthy man and NEVER sick or down, dizziness was a strange thing. We loaded him up to take him to the emergency room he was joking and laughing and thought it was foolish of us to take him. The hospital didn’t find anything wrong and told him he was healthy but thought they would keep him a few hours to monitor him.
Grandpa was requesting we take him home as we were fussing over him too much. He was laughing over the fuss and claiming the dizziness was gone when they called Code Blue on him. Literally heard him laugh one min and within another second, he was gone.
It was at this moment when it really hit me and I realized the importance of memories! This is when it really hit that money doesn’t buy everything. It can not buy memories those memories have to be felt and experienced. Just make memorable memories. Get creative. I wouldn’t trade a million dollars for that two weeks with grandpa and my family, I wouldn’t trade a million dollars for our song and the laughter we had making it.
Long after grandpa is gone I STILL remember talking as we walked the miles and miles, I STILL remember the feelings I had of gratitude for going, I STILL remember the feelings of laughing and the love that we all had. I STILL remember his beaming ear to ear grin as he saw his family enjoying and learning. With these memories, I STILL FEEL him. At any time I can call upon these memories, he is never more than a THOUGHT away. I STILL FEEL his love. Money can never buy anything more valuable than….MEMORIES!
Now I try to make sure my family creates memories. I don’t take those traditions for granted I live them to the fullest, we play harder and are trying to make more memorable nights. No matter the stage of life or the finances you are in you can ALWAYS make memories. They don’t have to cost a dime. Look for one of my future posts on cheap or free memory building ideas.
What’s one of the best things you have done to create memories?
What’s one of the best father’s day gifts you have received or given?
Read more on our two-week history tour itinerary here.