Monday, January 17, 2011

Making Memories

Since my birthday, I've been reminded how important our memories are to us and that making memories is an integral part of our relationships with those we care about.  Why my birthday you ask?  Well, a few reasons actually.  One, I tend to get a little introspective around my birthday, and since it is so close to the New Year, it compliments my goal setting and resolution making!  Two, this year I had a wonderful birthday get together with some great friends who made me laugh so much and really helped me to create some great birthday memories.  And thirdly, my Pa Pa, who was 99 years old, passed away on the evening of my birthday.  Yes it was very hard, but it really got me thinking about how many amazing memories he must have had.  Memories of life experiences, places he had seen, inventions and improvements in technology, and memories he had created with his family. 
So many times, our days and nights are filled with scheduled things.  Our lives tend to rush past us.  And so for me, a huge part of our yearly Disney trip is all about making memories with my family.  Then, when we come home, the race is on to preserve those memories.  Whether it be in scrapbooks, photo albums, or DVD slideshows, those memories have to be saved and relived for years to come. 

Our honeymoon at Disney. 

The first time we took Payton and he spent the majority of the trip on his Daddy's shoulders. 

Payton's 5th birthday at Hollywood Studios getting birthday wishes from all the characters in the Stars and Motor Cars parade. 

Waiting, and waiting, and waiting for buses at Caribbean Beach resort.  Meeting new friends in a treehouse. 

All of these memories and so many more.  But I've often found myself wondering, am I too busy trying to get that perfect photograph or the best video angle that I miss what's really going on around me?  I miss the memory in the making?  Sometimes I think that's true.  For example, we attended our first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party this year and had a blast!  It was nearing time for Hallowishes, the amazing fireworks show, and we had found a great viewing spot with seating and everything!  So we got ourselves situated and I pulled out both the camera and the mini video recorder.   So here I am, getting everything set up and the show starts.  I'm clicking away, checking my settings, trying to keep the video stable, AND still trying to watch.  It wasn't working.  In the end, I think I only really watched a small fraction of the fireworks, and even that little bit told me it was the best one I'd ever seen at Disney.  And yet, I missed the moment.  I missed looking at my son's face to see his amazement.  I missed sharing a glance with my husband that said, "I'm so glad we are doing this as a family."  I missed the moment.  The video is good, the pictures are OK, but neither will ever truly represent the beauty of that fireworks show.  The beauty of that moment, of being so caught up in the magic that I set the camera aside.

Now granted, I'm not advocating for leaving your camera at home.  I'm an avid photographer and of course my favorite subject, other than my son,  is all things Disney.  But when the camera stops you from participating in the moment, in the creation of the memory, it's time to put it back in the bag and immerse yourself in the magic.   Because that's why we go to Disney, to bring magic into our lives and to create magical memories with the ones we love.

I can only hope that I will have the many years that my Pa Pa had time to enjoy during his long life.  What I can do though is ensure that I am fully participating in the memories that I create now!  My wish for all of you is that you find a way to be present in the moment...and keep "Makin' Memories." 

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