How do you feel when you have a special moment in your life?  A moment that you can recognize as special while it’s happening, that you want to remember for as long as you’re able?  For me, I try to be still, to take it all in and take a mental picture, attempting to remember every detail from what I can see visually, and also what I feel emotionally. Ca-click.

I have a surplus of these memories from my childhood—BBQs at a neighbors’ house, relatives or friends visiting from out of town, road trips to new places. Luckily I was able to add to my mental memory scrapbook just this past Memorial Day weekend. My husband, two boys and I headed out of town for the long weekend. My husband and I were somewhat adventurous with our plans for the family—camping one night, hiking the next day, visiting a museum, and finishing up with another hike on the final day.  We wanted the children to have a new experience, something that they will hopefully remember for a long time.

I have to admit, I was preparing myself for the trip to not be 100% enjoyable. We’d never camped with the kids and we honestly didn’t know how they would do. We’d hiked with them before but only briefly; we’d never done an hours-long hike like the one we were planning. We knew the museum would go over well because we had been there before and know it has a fantastic children’s playground. Still the fact remained that there was a considerable variety of things that could go awry. What my husband and I agreed on was to be very flexible (much more so than we normally are) and to be prepared for the worst.

Lo and behold, there was an unexpected storm–thunder and lightning included–that hit during our night of camping. Thankfully it only momentarily dampened the picture-perfect trip we hoped for; it quickly passed and the trip was all uphill from there. In the end it was a huge success. There were many times my husband and I looked at each other knowing just how special it was. We were enjoying our trip, and more importantly enjoying each other.

The children hiked 4 ½ miles the day following our night of camping.  The waterfalls along the trail were amazing; they were going at full blast. Our oldest son saw us taking pictures and asked if he could take one. He hadn’t tried out a camera before.  He snapped one picture, then another. You could see the delight on his face at his accomplishment. It was almost like he knew he would remember this trip as much by the picture as the mental memory that had just taken form. Ca-click.


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