Scattering Love

                   It’s not what you gather but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you’ve lived.
Helen Walton

I was thinking about my childhood the other day and trying to remember how far back my memories went. I settled on somewhere between four and five years old but there were only a handful that were clear to me. That bothered me, especially when I took what was then and applied it to now.

Making memories with the people you love or care about is one of life’s greatest gifts. Some of the times we’ve laughed most were with our children and grandchildren, especially during their early years, when everything is on the table, learning is a daily adventure, innocent words  are a sound byte and your sense of wonder sometimes equals theirs. Those are memories that we’ll keep with us forever. Unfortunately, it’s all one-sided. Because in those early years it’s not anything they’ll remember. Influenced, yes. But all the things that were said or laughed about until there were tears in our eyes will not be a definitive memory for them.

That shouldn’t bother me because it’s just another cycle of life, but it does. I remember things that we did with our children and now our grandchildren that were special moments, and though we can relay the stories, it’s not the same as being there in our mutual minds. I sit and have conversations now with our grandchildren, play games, tell stories, laugh at the silliest things, hold them if they cry and sit back and wonder if they’ll remember any of it.

I’ve always understood this but I suppose as I’ve gotten older, Helen Walton’s quote has taken on a different meaning. You want those you love to remember every last laugh and cuddle and hand holding because you know that time of innocence, like life, is so short. Eight or nine comes too quick and soon they’re moving on. Parents will always be more invested in the lives of their children/grandchildren than the other way around. That’s just the way it is. It’s not a matter of loving or caring, it’s just the emotional investment that begins long before they open their eyes and never goes away.

So selfishly you want them to remember it all. Every amazing moment. Big and small. Hoping that you’ve scattered enough love and joy into their lives that one day they may laugh at something silly for no reason at all. You may not know it or even be there. But if it brought them happiness, then maybe something in their two year old lives stuck, and you’ve scattered enough.

And maybe, just maybe, the shade of a memory will not only be yours.

 

43 thoughts on “Scattering Love

  1. Noellie

    I wholeheartedly agree with this post. I take tons of pictures for any little moment because they are what I want to remember. I don’t do professional family sittings, I print the little things.

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  2. Svet Pavlovsky

    Made me think…my memories of me growing up , my parents, rise in my mind, when I have to deal with that in the present. I always think what would my parents do in that situation. And I don’t remember the amount of scattered love I received during my early years. I do see it on the photos, when I look backwards.

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  3. Jodi

    Interesting to think about George. I’ve invested so much love in my two granddaughters already – who are 2 years old and 6 months old, and they will have no memory of it. Even though my granddaughter calls me and asks me to come over and the other bursts into smiles when I do. Sad to think they won’t remember that. Hopefully the love and bond that its building will be the treasured result.

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  4. Kate Crimmins

    My granddaughters live across the country. They are 13 and I’ve spent time with them maybe 15 times for a few days at a time. I have some good memories but I often wonder if we are the old people in another state who buys presents. You are lucky to make connections.

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    1. George Post author

      That’s a tough one and I know people in similar situations. I think it’s not the time you spend with them but the kind of time that’s spent. Presents always help..:) Especially if those gifts are something they can take into the future.

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  5. Book Club Mom

    Hi George – although we don’t have grandchildren yet, I understand this emotion. In fact, even our kids don’t remember some of the special moments that I hold onto. I think about all the little phrases and jokes we had with them and how big a deal it was at the time, and now even the kids don’t remember. But perhaps they feel those things in a different way. Such a wonderful post.

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  6. aFrankAngle

    It’s hard to recall memories before 5 – even then, they are faint. Then again, amazing how a trigger can recall a memory. What gets me is how we remember some of the simple or even dumb things, not the more important ones. Well done, George!

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  7. Anne Mehrling

    We don’t remember more than other normal people, but we have family jokes and stories that we have shared. It’s living history that becomes an internal part of our children and grandchildren. Our grandsons know some of the funny stories of their great-great grandparents, so that we just say a code word, and everyone laughs. They may not remember specific events, but they know they are part of a long line of good people who lavished love on others.

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  8. Dale

    I sometimes worry about what I remember when I chat with my sisters (both younger than me) who talk about something that has disappeared from my memory banks but is still in theirs. Then I think, man! Am I so far removed from them? No. We just remember what we do and that’s how it goes.
    I think of so many things I shared with my boys and now? They only remember bits and pieces themselves.
    Circle of life, eh? 🙂

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    1. George Post author

      Yes….Circle of life. I think we all have our own memories, little things that might mean more to us than someone else, even in our own families. You just have to keep telling those boys your stories until it becomes their own that gets passed down..:)

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      1. Dale

        Right? Like a story of my paternal great-grandmother – whom I don’t remember at all, except we picked strawberries – I was apparently about 3… They told me it so many times, I “remember” it.

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  9. aginggracefullymyass

    Well thanks for making me cry right after I signed onto WP! Geez…. But seriously, this was a beautiful, thoughtful post. We fly up to see our grandkids every two months and like to stay for 5 days at a time. Not sure that’s enough to get into those memory banks though. But I take lots of video when we’re there so maybe that will help! I’ve also started a journal for each one of them to write about what they are like at this particular age and some of the funny stuff that they might enjoy later. Noble idea right? But I’ve only written in each one once! Yikes! You’ve inspired me to make time to write in them today!

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    1. George Post author

      I’m sorry….:) It’s hard when they’re so far away. My brother in law has a similar situation and they try to fly out once a month or so but it’s hard. A journal, especially handwritten, is a great idea. I hope the inspiration helps🙂

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  10. In My Cluttered Attic

    Photos, videos, and spending as much quality time as possible doing things with the kids. Boy, those moments of laughter, though, they seem to be the ones that stick the most. Like when I tell or read stories—like Jan mentioned above—the kids and I reflect back on those the most it seems. “Dad, you remember that time you read the story about the…” and then we go on to describe how all of us couldn’t stop laughing so hard that it brought tears to our eyes. Even today, I still do this to the grandkids, often using different voices for each character (sometimes going off the rails in a completely different direction, before returning to the script) and it never fails to result in belly laughs, even for myself. The uncontrolled laughs by the kids, though, are always contagious—sticks like glue in their minds. If laughter is the best medicine, then it seems to be equally true that laughter results in wonderful memories too. 😀

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    1. George Post author

      You’re so right, Paul. The things my grandkids ask for the most and seem to remember are the made up stories I tell them. Laughter always seems to stick, like a good book or story.
      Always good to see and hear from you. Hope you’re doing well and the suits aren’t working you too hard..:)

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  11. Ann Coleman

    That’s so true, George…we have no way of knowing which, if any of these special moments will be truly remembered by our kids and grand kids. Photos help, but they aren’t the same as an actual memory. But I also think you made a very important point: we don’t know which things they will remember, so all we can do is the time we spend with them worth remembering. That way, if that particular day or event is the one that sticks in their minds, it will always be a comfort and a joy to them!

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