Our memories of events are never what we think they are going to be. Instead of remembering the special moments--the things we planned--we remember the mistakes, the calamities and the just plain odd things that happen.
When they were kids, my younger cousins visited my parents and my dad told them they could have anything they wanted for breakfast. They asked for ice cream. My dad gave it to them. Those cousins are adults now, but they remember and still talk about that breakfast.
Before we were married, my husband and I spent a couple Christmases with his family. I don't remember the meaningful things that happened. Heck, I don't even remember the gifts. I do remember the year my in-laws were learning to use their new gas fireplace, when the house was so hot we had the front door open during a blizzard while we ate Christmas dinner. I also remember a Christmas dinner when my husband came upon me in a back room as I shoveled a bowl of bite-sized Krackle candy bars down my throat because I didn't like any of the food that was being served during the meal that was, to my mind, hours delayed. I also remember the Christmas my mother-in-law, acknowledging the first Christmas Day I'd ever failed to spend with my parents, sent my parents a lovely centerpiece to thank them. She'd asked that the card read, "Thank you for sharing Cynthia with us." Instead, it said "Thank you for sharing sympathy with us." If that card had been correct, no one would have remembered it. Instead, we chuckle about it every Christmas when both our families join us for Christmas at our house.
I'm thinking that the past week we have spent in New Hampshire may be like those stories. We've had some quality family time--talking, playing games, reading, watching movies, playing video games and ping pong. We had friends with kids visit for the weekend. The weather has been fantastic for skiing, and my husband and children have discovered parts of the mountain they did not know existed because we had so little snow when we were up here last winter that the trails were not open. (I gave skiing the old college try last winter, and we all have agreed it's not for me. I stay home and facilitate their skiing.)
While all these things are wonderful, I'm fairly certain there are only three things that will forge this trip in our memories. I'm guessing that this will be remember as:
1. The Year the Car Wouldn't Go Up the Driveway
Thank goodness, it was dry when we arrived after dark on December 26. The house we are renting is on a winding country road, and the driveway is long, steep, gravel, and very twisty. It snowed significantly the first night we were here. The next morning, I dropped my husband and kids at the mountain and went to the grocery store. The little one crapped out before I'd even finished shopping, so I picked her up on the way home. The otherwise much beloved minivan wouldn't go up the plowed snowy driveway. Not even a little bit. Before the first turn, the car stopped and rolled down the hill. No four-wheel drive. No traction. No hill.
I couldn't leave the car at the bottom of the driveway for the whole week, because the driveway is shared with neighbors. I couldn't park on the snow-covered winding country road. I couldn't get up the hill. If my daughter had not been with me, I probably would have cried. Instead, I called an auto repair shop, learned about snow tires, and spent the next couple days acquiring some at a rather significant cost. Days wasted, money spent, but problem solved.
2. The Year the Squirrel Got in the House
This one's probably self-explanatory. The little furry guy had been sneaking in the garage for days. Yesterday, after our visitors left, we went out for the afternoon. We returned to find the side door ajar. About ten minutes later, my six-year-old screamed a very helpful "Squirrel in the house!!!!" (I'm beyond impressed it wasn't a useless squeal.) In any event, with the opening of doors and some coaxing, we got the rodent to go back to his natural habitat, and he doesn't seem to have done any damage indoors.
3. The Year the Power Went Out
My husband drove home this evening so he could go to work in the morning. The kids and I are planning on leaving tomorrow. As I called the kids to dinner, the power went out. It was kind of freaky being out in the country with no power, no phone (all those in the house are cordless), no cell coverage, and no Internet. Fortunately, I keep a small flashlight in my purse for reading in the car after dark. My son remembered seeing candles. We already had a fire lit. I did become a little alarmed with all the fire, two small children, and no phone, so we drove to the closest gas station to report the outage to the power company. After about two hours, power was restored, but not after many memories were likely made.
I made both kids change out of jammies and get dressed, just so we could go out in the driveway to look at the stars. In my nearly forty-two years, I have never seen so many stars. It was stunning, and the kids loved it.
I'd had to let the fire in the fireplace burn down while we made our gas station run. The kids were amazed and impressed that I rekindled it with pages torn from the In Style magazine our friend left here this weekend. (This is likely the only use I ever will get out of an In Style magazine, so I was rather pleased as well.)
Once the fire was blazing and bedtime was upon us, we made smores in the fireplace. My daughter was eating smores while putting on her pajamas for bedtime. She had to polish off the last of it just in time to brush her teeth. After all the excitement and treats, each got to bed a bit late, which is far from the norm when Mom's around.
All in all, I'd say it's been an exciting and memorable trip, just not in the way I had expected. You'd think I'd know to expect the unexpected by now.
What about you? Any family memories that get shared over and over that were absolutely not part of the grand design?