“Making Memories?”

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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!)

35 thoughts on ““Making Memories?”

  1. Social Media seems to have made such expressions widespread. I doubt my parents ever set out to ‘make memories’ for me, but I have them, nonetheless. 🙂
    (Cheer up, it will either be Biden or Bernie who loses to Trump. Not much you can do about it anyway. 🙂 )
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. I hear you on all counts. ‘Making memories’ too often means documenting them for others to see rather than just living and enjoying time with one another. Also I understand your angst about Super Tuesday, but I remain hopeful! I have to – the alternative is unbearable!

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  3. I went to a concert and was surprised by how many people had their phones out video taping instead of enjoying the music. It was an excellent concert, one I will remember for a long time even though I have no video.

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  4. Yes, memories happen, they are not made….because we each take away different things from any given experience…I remember discussing a past event with my late mother, and was absolutely amazed that her recollections were hugely different to mine.

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  5. I laughed, because I approved of our neighbors’ saying they were going to make memories. Mother and daughter are still mourning the death of their husband/father. When birthdays and holidays come up, they decided they would not buy THINGS to give each other. They would “make memories”. They have gone on short trips, seen movies, and had relatives come to stay. We’ve enjoyed their conversation l about special things.

    I take a fair number of photos, not to make memories, but to share things with my family and bloggers. The photo files ARE my memory these days. If I forget who was with us for a particular event, I can answer my own question. I do miss out on some of the action being behind the camera, but it’s a trade-off.

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    1. Well your neighbors comments make good sense. They were going to establish patterns without their loved one. Your photos are always joyful and I never think they are staged to impress me with how wonderful your life is.

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  6. I can see both sides of this issue, Elizabeth. I’m usually in your camp because it drives me nuts when people insist on photographing every minute of the most mundane activities. (Do I need to see your omelet before you engulf it? 😎) Stopping every few minutes to take photos instead of enjoying the event itself seems like the wiser approach.

    On the other hand, sometimes I look back at photos and think, “I don’t have any memory of this at all.” Maybe it’s a good thing that there are a few photos for guys like me who are becoming more forgetful. I agree that the “making memories” tag is sappy and overused.

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  7. These days we often here the words “be present” or “stay in the moment”. I think it’s because we need to be reminded of this. Too many of us are caught up in this world of social media where staged photos trump words and even people. Thanks for the reminder!

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  8. I totally agree with this. I was always the parent WITHOUT a video camera (remember those?) at my kids’ events. Be present, that is what they will remember!

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