The Best Family Memories Are Spontaneous
It never fails. My family and I will be sitting at the dinner table or driving in the car, and one of the kids will say, “Do you remember when….?” This is usually followed by a retelling of a memory they have from a year ago or even last week. This is always fun for everyone. We relive a fun memory and laugh, but I’ve notice something. Most of the memories my children remember the fondest are ones that weren’t planned. They aren’t the memories that my husband and I spent hours and money planning. They are usually those spontaneous moments when the adults in our family relive a bit of our own childhood, and create moments that last a lifetime.
“Do you remember when you spray painted my hair red the year I was Ariel the Little Mermaid for Halloween?” “Do you remember when we stopped and picked up that turtle in the middle of the road?” “Do you remember when Kylie accidentally used cleaner instead of vegetable oil in her first batch of brownies she made by herself (long story)?”
Take our recent vacation for an example. We spent weeks and months planning the activities, the location, the rental house. We researched surrounding parks and beaches. We printed out directions and addresses for local restaurants and hot spots. We were prepared to create an entire week of memories, and we did. But the BEST memory from our vacation? The one that we’ll still be talking about years from now? Totally spontaneous. Totally incredible.
We had been visiting the local state park daily during our vacation, walking the beach, collecting shells. One day as we entered the park, paying our entrance fee, my husband noticed a sign about fishing from the pier. We hadn’t brought any of our fishing equipment, but he remembered seeing a sign along the main road about crabbing. Neither of us had ever tried to catch crabs before, blue crabs to be specific, but why not, right?
We stopped by a local bait shop, picked up a $5 crab net and $1 package of chicken necks (according to the bait shop guy that’s what crab like to eat), and off we went to the pier. We were all excited, having no clue what we were doing, but excited nonetheless.
To our amazement, the first net we lowered down caught a crab! And so did the next, and the next! Before we knew it, we had close to forty blue crabs, and were using our phones to search the internet for ways to cook them.
The kids were so amazed that they caught what ended up being our dinner and we were all talking about it for days afterward. All these great memories cost us about $6, a couple Google searches, a few hours, and a little spontaneity.
I tend to be one of those moms that likes to plan everything, some days following my schedule to the “T” just to maintain my sanity. But I have learned over the years that letting your hair down once in awhile, tapping into those days of childhood innocence, and doing something unplanned and unexpected can bring about some truly amazing family bonding and create memories that will last a lifetime.