For those of us blessed to have all five senses in our power, it is not unusual to take them for granted. Most days, we aren’t even aware of the myriad experiences we have. However, every now and then, one of our senses will hit us and the memories come flooding back when a sight, sound, taste, touch or smell brings them front and center. It in turn leads to other wonderful events eliciting smiles and touching a chord, brightening an otherwise ordinary day.
I have so many fond recollections of times spent with my grandparents. Living more than 1,600 miles away from them, we didn’t get to visit often. And yet, I remember outings, special meals, every room in their homes, their voices, the aromas, their hugs and most of all their unconditional love. Oftentimes, something seemingly common will trigger a memory out of nowhere. One day, the smell of bacon cooking will carry me back to my grandparents’ house. No explanation for it, I have had bacon more times than I care to admit, but there it is.
I asked our daughters what came to mind using each of the five senses when remembering their maternal grandmother. Each answer they gave triggered stories to share, illustrating and illuminating the importance of keeping these memories close. They found, as did I, that one story morphed moving from one sense to another. I loved hearing how my mom (the girls called her “Honey”), always made them her number one priority when we were together. Before we went for a visit, she called to make sure she stocked the kitchen with what they liked to eat—she didn’t ask that of me—although, that is probably because she knew I liked everything she made, but I digress. Their answers included special outings, playing dress-up, Honey singing lullabies when tucking them in, the scent of her perfume, the butter mints she always had in a candy dish, coming up with something to make every day special, making jelly with the crab apples they picked, being there for important events in their lives; but most of all, how she loved them unconditionally. As they grew up, new memories came to mind. These are equally important, but it is their childhood recollections that, to me, are the best, as they show this special bond was formed early on in their lives.
This made me wonder what will bring up memories of me from our grandchildren, hopefully, many, many, many years from now, that they will tell their children. My desire is that their recollections will be much like my girls. Right now, it would be playing hide and seek, chasing them in a game of tag, reading to them, watching them play sports, being there for school programs and special events, being there with them and for them, but most of all loving them unconditionally.
I am fortunate that I live in town with four of my grandchildren, whose ages range from two to eight. The other three are a mere three and a half hours away and their ages are 13, 10 and seven. I want the three that live away to have special times spent together, so they feel as important in my life as the ones who live nearby. In a way, it is easier to be more complacent in the times I am with the ones close by. I hope that I will always make time with every visit to play a game or do at least one thing they are eager to include me in doing. For, as with my own grandparents, it will be the quality of time spent together, not the quantity.