Memory Making 101

July 19, 2010

What memories are you making this summer? What do you think your kids will remember from their childhoods? What do you remember from yours? We returned Saturday from our annual effort to make happy memories: a family vacation at a rented lake house in Georgia. We go with another family from our neighborhood: the parents, who shall be known hereafter as P & G, and the sons, C & G the younger. C and my son are good friends and attend high school together.

The view from the dock to the lake house...

This is the third year we’ve rented the house with them, and we still remain friends despite hard fought battles of dominoes, Yahtzee, rummy and other card games, and the efforts of my son, C and G the younger to drive each other insane. The wives (P and myself) spend as much time possible reading on the screened porch, and the husbands devote much of their time to keeping the boys from killing themselves and each other. (Who has the more relaxing vacation, do you think?)

...and the view from the house to the dock

We haul up inflatables and fishing gear for the kids to play with in addition to the slide on the lake house dock. I don’t know what he was thinking, but this year, my husband purchased a used jet ski for the boys’ (well-supervised) use. As is the manner of jet skis, this one promptly proved to be a lemon. Four days and $200 later, we towed it to Georgia, where it continued its stubborn habit of breaking down, until the dads rigged it for action with duct tape. It became affectionately known as the Clampett Mobile.

The Clampett Mobile in action

These lake visits can prove to be a lot of work for the parents, but we hope we’re building memories our sons can happily look back on, the way I do my visits to Grandma’s house, and my husband does to his summers swimming and fishing at his grandparents’ house.

At work on the Clampett Mobile

I hope they’ll remember the hours spent with family and friends—sharing meals, playing games, watching movies, swimming, fishing and jet skiing. I hope they remember how hard the dads worked to keep the jet ski running and filled with gas, and the round of golf the teenagers and their dads shared (my son got his first birdie!). I suspect the mishaps will be remembered as well or better than the uneventful hours spent flinging themselves off the dock into the water. For example, one night while we were playing games (adults: cards; teens: Xbox), G looked out the window and noted that the inflatable Cube was gone from the dock. My son and C took that as a combat challenge, had their bathing suits on and tore down to the water before you could say, “Hey, it’s raining,” which it was. They retrieved the errant Cube and returned wet but covered in glory.

The Cube

Another day, the dads determined that we should all go to the Rock—a large granite outcropping the kids jump from into the lake. Three would ride the jet ski, and tow the other four of us in a large, inflatable raft. P and I were skeptical—how would they keep the tow ropes from ripping holes in the raft? After a test run around the dock it was deemed safe, and at first all seemed to go as planned. Then I heard a suspicious hissing noise…sure enough, a hole had formed in the raft near the tow rope. We were two-thirds of the way to the Rock, so we limped on, taking turns hanging on to the tow rope and holding the hole in the raft closed. The Clampett Mobile ferried us back home.

We have so little time left to make the childhood memories our kids will take with them through life. Here’s to making the most of every opportunity. Even if it involves the Clampett Mobile.

What I did this summer...

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  1. It sounds like you had fun and enjoyed the time away!

    Did you come back rested and relaxed or was it not that type of vacation? Either way, I hope it was a great break and a great time for all of you!

  2. We had a great time, and I came back somewhat recharged. (If I hadn't stayed up until midnight every night, I'd feel even better--but at least I got to sleep in!)

  3. The Clampett Mobile -- ah, you made me smile, Kathy. Especially picturing it held together with duct tape. (One of my uncles has a philosophy that if duct tape can't fix it, it can't really be that important. ;) So glad you didn't actually end up in dire straits with that raft incident!

    I'd have loved to be with you ladies, reading -- or on a float by the dock, daydreaming. Sounds like bliss, frankly. Well, until you add in three teens and a couple of husbands. :P

    You did a wonderful thing for your boys. I know they will remember it always.

  4. Too bad we didn't have the duct tape DURING the raft incident...

    You would have fit right in with us, Meredith--plenty of places to relax and daydream. I hope you have someplace like this to retreat to when you need it.

  5. I felt like I had a vicarious lakeside visit myself! I love to read, too, and would have enjoyed just sitting and reading while the dads coralled the boys. :)

    Our foster granddaughter (17) moved in with us last October, and life has never been the same! Teens are great, but have SO much energy and drama that my spare time has nearly evaporated.

    You ARE building wonderful memories for them! They will remember the challenges but also the fellowship. It all sounds like a wonderful adventure!

  6. Hi, Elizabeth--wow, you're brave taking in a teenager! They do have lots of energy, and even though they don't require the physical care toddlers do, they most definitely require supervision and mental energy!

  7. Sounds wonderful! Memories are such precious things... you're a smart lady for recognizing their importance.

  8. It was wonderful! I hope you made some happy memories on your beach trip with your family.

  9. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us, Kathy! It does look like the perfect getaway. I've been in that type of cottage on the lake before - we so need those vacations, don't we? Like you, we also like traveling with other people - makes the experience more memorable. One trip is especially special because we took a vacation with my son, his wife and my nephew, and just a few months later, my sister-in-law died in a car accident. My brother said that was the best vacation they ever had and I'm so glad we got to have that time together with Mollie.

  10. Wow, Krista...what a good reminder to cherish the times we have with friends and family, because you never know when those times might be cut short.

  11. That sounds like a heavenly holiday full of happy memories, silly situations and relaxation. I haven't any good childhood memories like that, in fact I try not to think about my childhood at all. Your kids - boy, so lucky and the Clampett Mobile - class.
    (I do have good holiday memories once I met my hubby, altogether now - awwww)

  12. We did have a great time--I'm glad you appreciated the class of the Clampett mobile! You and your hubby will have to make sure you create a whole bunch of great memories for yourselves to make up for your lack of good ones from childhood. An excuse to have fun!