Our lives are made up of small moments. There are those moments we forget, or try to forget, and those we remember and cherish.
To me, these small moments are like luminous stars in the sky, guiding my journey ahead and shedding light on the experiences and people who’ve shaped me into the person I am today.
I often wonder, which moments will my children remember?
Will they mostly remember the times I’ve said “not now” or “just a minute?” Or will they remember the times I set aside what I was doing to play ping-pong, help find missing soccer shorts, or listen to what they had to say?
Will they remember our family nights making s’mores out on the deck and the Sunday morning caramel rolls? Or will they mostly remember the rushing around to basketball practice and soccer games?
Will they remember walking the streets of San Francisco while sharing a sack of chocolate covered fortune cookies? How about when we got lost hiking in the woods and it started to pour?
Will they remember peeling corn on the cob with their Grandpa years ago or making paper snowflakes to give to Grandma as a Christmas present?
Of all the projects my children have brought home from grade school, my all-time favorites are the stories they wrote during the small moments writing unit. The kids are asked to visualize a small, specific event from their lives, draw a picture of it, and write it down step by step, using colorful words to describe the sounds and smells and textures and feelings.
At the start of these units, each of my kids struggled with coming up with a moment to write about. “I can’t think of anything,” they each said. Or they got stuck on big general stories like the day they visited a petting zoo instead of the moment a goat ate out of their hands.
After we reminisced a bit, though, the moments and details came: Sliding down that glow-in-the-dark water slide, that time we watched a football game in our living room while passing around a tub of cookie dough, getting a tooth knocked out by a neighbor’s foot, making a touchdown at recess.
It’s easy to say, “Oh, it’s all a blur,” or dismiss the importance of remembering those small moments that helped mold us. But, personally, I want to be overflowing with all those snippets and stories, because they add depth and wholeness to my life’s narrative and the experiences and relationships within it.
I think that’s why I enjoy writing so much. It helps me slow down, be in the quiet, allow for the small moments to reemerge and glimmer. Sometimes they come like bright shooting stars in a meteor shower. Other times, they’re faint lights in a clouded sky. But one thing’s for sure. I’ll never stop looking out for them.
These are the small moments that flickered in my memories today as I prepared for this post:
- I remembered the day I got my first tricycle. It was raining, so my Mom let me ride it inside the house.
- I remembered walking pass a small chapel somewhere and seeing my Dad kneeling with his head bowed down into his folded hands.
- I remembered those every other Fridays, payday, when Mom came home after work with a carload of groceries, and we all pitched in to unload the marvelous snacks inside the brown paper bags. Green grapes, Oreos, fresh bread, Corn Chex, yogurt, a big pail of vanilla ice cream. The abundance in our fridge and cupboards on those Friday evenings were magical.
- I remembered what it felt like walking into the lunchroom when I was the new girl in 7th grade. I still get that feeling sometimes.
- I remembered crowding around the television set surrounded by my siblings’ stinky feet and passing around a big bowl of buttery popcorn, which my Dad made almost every night it seemed.
- I remembered the day we buried our dog, Jamie, in the wooded area in our yard and the small wooden cross my brother engraved to mark the spot.
- I remembered my first kiss. It was on a parked boat. It only lasted for about half a second, but I felt like I was floating for a whole week after that.
- I remembered the afternoon I caught a glimpse of my Mom on a corner of the couch with her legs propped up eating ice cream right out of the bucket.
- I remembered the time my Dad was in charge of decorating the cake for one of my birthday parties, and he sprinkled Cheerios over the whole thing.
What’s a small moment you remember and cherish?
UPCOMING ANTHOLOGY. CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS. To check out a wonderful upcoming anthology I’m coediting with Christine Organ, click here.
I’m Julie Jo Severson, mom of three and freelance writer. I launched this blog Carvings On A Desk in 2015. It’s where I connect with my own voice, write the stories down, and doodle about past, present, future clinking glasses and making peace. To see my other recent posts, click here.