As I think back over my life in search of good memories, the first ones that always pop up are times when our kids were little. Jennifer and I were blessed with Will in 1991 and Allison in 1993.
During the summers of 1994 – 1998 we bought season passes to Moody Gardens in Galveston. There was a swimming area called Palm Beach. We set aside Tuesday afternoons to take the kids to let them play in the sand and learn to swim. Tuesdays were always slow at work during the summer so I would take off at noon. I still got 6 to 7 hours of work in since I arrived at work between 5:00 – 6:00 am. My drive was 42 miles one way, so I got up early to beat the traffic. I still have that habit today even though my drive now is about 10 miles one way. Since I edited the TV shows, I set my own pace to be able to ship all the broadcast tapes by Friday for the following week’s show. One Tuesday as I was getting ready to leave work one of the secretaries told me how much she admired the way I made time for my kids by making them a priority. She went on to say that she wishes she had done that when her kids were little. That statement made me thankful for the priorities Jennifer and I set. I have such fond memories of teaching Will and Allison how to swim and just playing with them on the beach and slides at Palm Beach.
Another good memory was taking Will and Allison to walk around the mall in the afternoons. There was a time when we had a double side by side stroller for them. As a young family we did not have much money so walking around the mall was affordable. It was not long before Allison wanted to walk – Will was good with riding in the stroller even though he was older. Sometimes I would carry Allison on my shoulders until she started to get heavy to where I would get tired. I recall the exact moment when the last time I set Allison down on the floor to walk because my neck was hurting. She was about 6 years old. I thought at that moment that it was the last time she would ride on my shoulders. That thought made me sad but knowing she was growing up pleased my heart. Funny how we would call the mall the “cookie mall” since that is what Will first called it. We would buy all of us a cookie and that is where he made up that name.
Vacations were another good memory of our young family. Most every year we would plan a week to spend at Disney World in Florida. The first time we took the kids they needed strollers and I think Allison was still in diapers. We would stay at one of the economy resorts so the logistics of boarding and leaving the bus to go to one of the parks was involved. As much as it was a lot of work for Jennifer and me, I would not trade a minute of that time for anything. We would work in visits with family in Louisiana and Florida along the drive there and back.
Now that Will and Allison are grown, we still make time to get together. We set aside every Friday evening for pizza and a movie even though one of them are not at home with us. Lately Will is in Waco and he would get a pizza or lasagna. We would set up a phone call and would sync the movie of the night. I insist on a countdown to start the movie, which everyone puts up with. I usually say, “You can’t go to the moon without a countdown so we should not start a movie without one either.” The things they must put up with…. but I think it is those sorts of things that create good memories.