All growing up, my parents tried quite deliberately to create events that we'd remember. While the end of my teenage years were filled with Big Vacations--trips to the Bahamas, Puerto Vallarta, Hawaii, and Washington D.C.--those trips didn't happen until we were all teenagers (which meant that as the oldest I was out of my teen years for half of those vacations).
Before those Big Vacations there were years and years of mini-vacations. Two or three-day vacations spent somewhere in the Pacific Northwest were about all our family of four young children could handle. But even though the trips were short, the memories were long. At Christmastime, we had the traditional Family Shopping Day, not quite a vacation, but still An Event. We had some summertime road trips to the mountains or the beach. I remember one spring break when we spent the day driving through the Columbia Gorge, having brunch at the now defunct Columbia Gorge Hotel, visiting Maryhill Museum (where I first fell in love with Auguste Rodin's sculpture), and having Japanese food for dinner at Bush Gardens.
I write all this to preface what I was thinking last Thursday when my parents planned another Event. These days, we don't even attempt to vacation all together (yikes!), but we do try to plan moments where the great-grandkids get to spend time with their great-grandma.
Last December it was a ride on The Polar Express.
This spring break it was seeing Goodnight Moon at the Northwest Children's Theatre and having lunch at Bush Gardens, a place I hadn't visited since I first was there 20 years ago.
I wasn't quite sure how a 30-second book would translate into a 75-minute production, but it was amazing. Obviously, the script had several extra bits that the book doesn't include. Some song and dance numbers, integration of the story Runaway Bunny, the backstory for the cow jumping over the moon, as well as the three little bears sitting in chairs.
Have a mentioned that this is one of my favorite children's books? I did? Well, now it's one of my favorite children's productions. It was magical. It was brilliant. It kept the attention of a room full of little kids, which I found really miraculous. Dozens of toddlers and children sat rapt with attention as Bunny gets ready for bed, his friend Mouse causing mischief, the quiet old woman whispering "hush." There's one more weekend of performances, and I highly recommend going.
As soon as we entered the auditorium (filled with benches, see? perfect for squirmy audience members!), Jules cried out, "Goodnight Moon! GOODNIGHT MOON!" She is well versed on the story and recognized the set immediately. Afterwards, Sydney had her picture taken with the Moon Fairy--responsible for moving the moon across the sky, naturally.
Here's little mouse, the quiet old lady, and young bunny signing autographs and posing for pictures. Marvelously talented, I tell you.
And after the show, it was off to Bush Gardens for a lunch of miso soup and edamame.
The girls didn't go for the miso soup, but they were mighty thrilled with the chopsticks.
"I think we should eat watermelon with chopsticks every day."
"That looks like something I could draw on the walls at home!"
Who knows exactly how much of this the girls will truly remember, but we'll have the pictures for them to look back on. My grandma is 94 years old, and it's important to all of us that her great-grandkids have memories of her that will stick with them on some level, like invisible threads wrapped around their heart.
Sometimes I forget that making memories doesn't have to be a huge affair, just something a little out of the ordinary will be perfect. You can't leave moments like that up to chance. You have to plan them; you have to photograph them; you have to talk about them.
And above all else, you have to treasure them.