One of my favorite movies of childhood was the original version of “The Parent Trap” starring Hayley Mills. I’ve watched it dozens of times. There’s a scene during which Susan (portraying her sister Sharon after the famous switcharoo) hugs her maternal grandfather whom she is meeting for the first time. As they embrace, she sniffs his lapel repeatedly. He inquires as to why, and she responds that she’s “making a memory.” She continues, “All my life, when I’m quite grown-up I will always remember my grandfather and how he smelled of…tobacco and peppermint.”
Making a memory–I’ve always liked that phrase. It’s not often that, when in the midst of a happy moment, I stop to think about how this encounter, exchange or occurrence will be filed away as a happy memory. On those rare occasions that I do, I smile at the realization that I’m living in a memory at that very moment.
I had one of those experiences over the weekend while visiting my sister. We don’t get to see each other nearly enough, as about 250 miles separate us. And now we’re both moms of toddlers meaning that our encounters are all the more special as our months-apart little ones get to know each other while we watch in wonder. During our visit, we had both kids in the car together for the first time. Oh we’ve caravaned before, but this was the first time they were in the car together with both moms present. Strapped in side by side, Benjamin and Meghan looked like two peas in a pod as they exchanged shy glances. We were headed to an art fair–moms upfront, babies in back.
As we pulled out of the garage, my sister cued up a tune from the car’s CD player. Without pause, I began singing the lyrics to “Six Little Ducks” as did my sister. Unbeknownst to us, we had the same toddler singalong CD. We laughed when we discovered we both knew every word to the song and could place the appropriate inflections and sound effects where they needed to be. And our little ones giggled in the back as we sang along to one of their favorite ditties.
I loved it–thick as thieves sisters who see each other only a handful of times a year and two cousins developing a lifelong bond–and I made a memory right then and there. Try it if you ever catch yourself in the midst of a memory-making moment. It’s kinda special.