Many phrases in common usage irritate me, probably because of the way I think too long about them. One such comes into play when a mother writes she is going on a trip to “make memories” with her children. I think I resist the notion that anything should be undertaken with the purpose of “making memories.” For me that puts distance between the activity and its enjoyment. I often have the same feeling when someone is videotaping for a long time at a kid’s party without pausing to actually enjoy the time.
Above my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother paused at a picnic to have my grandfather take a picture of them. It’s a lovely moment, one that I am glad that he captured for me to enjoy years later. However, I am sure he didn’t think “let’s go on a picnic to make memories.” Instead he went on a picnic and memories did or didn’t follow.
Genuine memories form in children all the time. I enjoy talking with my grandchildren about times we had in the past. We have traveled, eaten together, made craft projects and just hung out for long boring times. We say back and forth “do you remember?” Sometimes just one of us does, sometimes all of us do. But we live our lives, memories piling up, and no one needs to set out to “make” them happen.
(Maybe a little curmudgeonly today. Less so than what I might have written. It is Super Tuesday in the Democratic Primary season and it has affected my mood. I am trying to forget, not make memories!)