I attended a workshop many years ago. One of the presenters told how she had written out 100 childhood memories as a present for her mother. What a great idea, and I still had plenty of time to do it before that Mother’s Day.
That was probably 15 years ago when I still camped a lot. I left my camper at my rural property for years. Well anyway, I took down a pad of sketching paper. I went in the camper at dark, lit a couple of candles and propped myself up on a pillow in the bed. I left the window behind me open to better hear the nighttime sounds, and the outside door open for the moonlit view.
I kept the writing for each memory short like the first one I wrote: “I’ll never forgive you for making me go to kindergarten the day you plastered the play room ceiling.) (My 2 brothers were too young for school. They got to play with the plaster in the wheel barrow and to be hosed off.) I wrote in the corners of the paper, across it, in a variety of ways according to the length of the memory. I cut each after writing it and folded it however its shape dictated. All the different folded shapes added visual interest to the present.
The memories flowed and flowed as I walked back through my childhood. I started very few of the memories with “I remember.” One hundred “I remembers” would quickly get monotonous to read.
Here’s more memory examples. “You should be glad you didn’t hear mine, Laurie’s and Carol’s singing on the way to scout meetings.” (My family is artistic, and there’s not a musical bone among us (I’m also the oldest of 8)). “Hardly anyone could beat me at jacks. It would be interesting to see my skill level now.” “You were all sneaky when Cork would give us a nickel for every 4-leafed clover we found in Ernie’s front yard.” “Imagine being in 7th grade before buying a dress. It was 2-piece, straight skirt and top with good-sized collar that tilted out in front and back.” (My grandmother sewed a LOT!) The memories kept pouring out until the last 10-15. I stayed with it until I had them all.
Then to make the gift even more special, I painted the flower pot to put them it. Mom opened her Mother’s Day gift while we were at my sister’s for the occasion. She and Dad read a few of them then, and read them all at home later that night.
As I write this blog now, so many memories flood in — a few childhood, but more recent ones of what all Mom and I did, all our outings after Dad passed. Mom and I hiked weekly and camped occasionally, except for the hottest part of the summer and coldest of winter. Now Mom’s at home with early Alzheimer’s and has a caregiver. Times sure change. Memories become even more precious. I can still see her face when she opened her Mother’s Day present and read a few.
There’s still plenty of time before Mother’s Day. If you plan to do this, give your mind plenty of time to think about it. That will help the memories to flow out smoothly, instead of having to be forced. Do plan to do it in a conducive atmosphere, with no threat of interruption. It’s a special time for the giver and a special gift for the receiver.
If your Mother has passed, I suggest you find somewhere special and do the 100 memories, knowing that her spirit is there with you.
Please, share this idea with others.