Thursday, November 22, 2012

Making Memories

March 2010: six days before my stroke

It has been a long time since I have grieved over my physical limitations. But this Thanksgiving my brother's family escaped to our shared condo in Mammoth. As I think of them there, I cannot help but remember the time we shared together just days before my stroke.

We had gone to Mammoth to enjoy the snow with my young niece and nephew. We are from Los Angeles so snow is miraculous, magical! I was as excited as the kids. They were finally big enough for inner tubing!

The kids eyed the tubing hill with uncertainty as we buckled their helmets under their chins. We had signed the liability waivers and were persuading my nephew to try it “just once.” We doubled up one kid with an adult and we flew down that mountain!

"Again!" they screamed as soon as we skidded to a stop.

We headed for the towline that hauls riders up the hill. I rode with my niece: me on my back in the tube, her small body warming my belly, our faces turned to the sky and the snow-laden trees. I recall the swish of our tube over snow, intimate whispers between us. What did we talk about on that gentle ride up the mountain?

These are the moments I miss.

More than two years have passed and the children are big enough now to ride their own tubes. I cannot ride at all. I suppose my experience is no different than the parent who loses the child through its growing independence. I just wanted more time.

This Thanksgiving I remind myself to be grateful for the time I had, and the time I still have to make new memories.


  1. I think many adults are wistful about magical moments with children. When Irma Bombeck was dying of cancer she regretted telling her children to go wash up for dinner when they tried to hug her. Children quickly become too grown up to be seen hugging their parents. If people knew moments of happiness are fleeting more adults would pay attention to what is happening now instead of living in their own head.

  2. Thank you, Marcelle, for this vivid and poignant memory of your niece and nephew. My son got married this year in June and things change. Over this holiday, he and his wife stayed with her parents in Pasadena. Last year he stayed with me and she with her family. I miss watching Jeopardy with him and making making a waffle egg sandwich breakfast for him in the morning. I love my daughter-in-law and I know they are making new memories together. I'm glad I have the ones of many special times together. Kahlil Gibran wrote that "life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday". How blessed we are to be able to watch and enjoy the growth of our young loved ones.

  3. I also mourn the loss of time with my kids because of the stroke.

    On the other hand, I know that my husband and I had many years of sleepless nights when our kids were babies and toddlers. Being in the present has its advantages ;)