It’s All About Memories… by JoAnn

A picture of two hands holding each other.

Last night, I celebrated my granddaughter’s 15th birthday, along with her siblings and her mother (my oldest daughter).  It was a humble little get together with no special decorations or other guests.  Just something we usually do as a family on our birthdays, separate from the parties with friends and more family to be given on another day.  These simple and laid-back times are my personal favorite.  

I enjoyed the night so much!  Per the birthday girl’s request, her mother made a delicious homemade meal consisting of her favorites; meatloaf, mashed potatoes, country style green beans, corn on the cob, and rolls.  It was wonderful.  Sitting around the kitchen table, enjoying the good food, and laughing as much as we were chewing.  That is usually how it always goes when I eat with my grands.  We do more laughing than eating!  I love that and I hope they do too.  I used to get them into trouble when they were little and their parents were trying to teach them table manners.  They probably don’t realize it now, but some day these times will be wonderful memories they can look back on and bring a smile to their face and hearts.  

The week preceding Memorial Day; I had the pleasure of going on vacation with the same daughter, son-in-law, and grands to the Great Smokey Mountain.  It was a much-needed vacation for all of us.  It was a spur-of-the-moment thing and I think that made it all the more fun.   We didn’t know what to expect as nothing in particular had been planned.  We even took along their brand-new Great Dane puppy.  We had no clue how that would go either!  But it really could not have gone better.  We all kept a relaxed attitude and just took each day as it came.  And what fun we had!  I stayed back in the cabin they had rented and puppy sat, as my daughter and son-in-law took the kids on special outings.  Too hot for me, not to mention too much walking for my ailing legs. 

I enjoyed every minute I spent with my “big” grand pup and had absolutely no regrets of staying behind with him.  Our cabin was perched on a mountain top, so the view was gorgeous.  He and I spent much time on the deck, taking in that view and breathing in the healing fresh air.  At night, I did venture out to The Island in Pigeon Forge and do some sightseeing.  We ate at the Paula Deen Restaurant and sat at a table with the stunning view of the Ferris Wheel all lit up in its splendor.  We had a wonderful meal……except for the meatloaf.  We are still laughing about how we need to show Paula how to make a true Southern meatloaf!  I think that will be a running joke in our family for years to come, as our family meatloaf has always gotten rave reviews!  Sorry Paula……but your cheddar biscuits are worth the trip girl!!!

While in the mountains of East Tennessee, my daughter took a chance and asked her aunt (my only sister) and family if we could all meet up somewhere close by.  She was so excited at the thought of seeing her cousins and aunt and uncle again, after many years.   We were so blessed to arrange a meeting on our last day there.  We met with her handsome cousin first, for lunch. 

My nephew stands at least 6’8″, and his heart seems as big as his size.  I was so impressed by the man he has grown into and was so happy to be able to tell him in person how proud I am of him.  It was about a 2 ½ hour visit, but full of quality time that will be in our memories forever. 

That night, we met up with my sister, brother-in-law, their daughter-in-law, and their first grandchild at a local Cracker Barrel.  How wonderful it was to see my big sister, give her a huge hug, and hear her laughter in person!  We ate, laughed, tried to catch up on the years gone by, and laughed some more.  We went outside after dinner and took full advantage of the line of rocking chairs placed out front.  We continued to catch up and laughed till we were in tears at times.  It was a glorious, impromptu family reunion!  We ended up visiting for about 4 hours, but it felt like much longer.  We left feeling as though we had just spent days with our loved ones and like no time had passed at all.  We had just picked up where we had left off.  What a wonderful feeling! 

So far, this summer has been reminding me of the importance of good memories.  It’s not things that took a lot of money to do, but the simple, everyday things that we do together.  The laughter!  Oh, the laughs, how important are the laughs.  It reminds me of a quote by Maya Angelou that really stuck with me, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

Here’s hoping your summer is filled with beautiful memories.