What memories do you have of those amazing trips you took with your parents when you were just a kid? Thank goodness for photos and videos, right? They give you an opportunity to go back in time to re-experience those moments.
As you browse through them, do you ever reflect on what you were thinking in those moments? If asked, what would you have said was important or the most fun? What would your siblings have said? You, of course, can’t go back in time to interview your young self.
However, tomorrow’s history is happening today, and there is something simple you can do today, so your children (or grandchildren) will have something very special tomorrow.
I was fortunate to grow up in a family where vacations were doable. My parents both believed in providing us with experiences. Sometimes it was just a daytrip into Chicago to see one of the Museums. On the other end of the spectrum, it was a trip to England. More often they were trips to see family – our cousins and grandparents in Iowa, or to go camping.
My dad had this habit of connecting with us at the end of any given day. It was usually at a time, like right after dinner, when we were all together. He would approach each of us and ask, in essence, “What was your favorite thing today?” We would each let loose with our answers. Sometimes funny, other times just significant to us for some reason, and other times just “answering the question.” It ended up being a conversation between all of us. My dad was great at probing and pointing out hidden humor in things.
At the time, it was not that big of a deal. We did it – it was fun, but then we would go off and play. I never knew why he did it. I used to think it was just because he wanted to know if we had enjoyed it – some positive re-enforcement for what he and my mom had arranged for that day’s activities.
Many years later – after my parents had passed away, I came across an audio cassette from 1967. It was recorded during our vacation to England. It was a tape mostly filled with my brothers and I making sound effects and other goofy things that kids do with a cassette tape recorder. But also on that tape was a recording of my dad asking each of us about what we had done on this one day! It is the only recording we have of my dad doing that.
There were a lot of things that I found amazing about that 50+ year-old recording. It was not so much what we actually did that day, but how we explained it with our 7-, 10- and 12-year-old minds. Hearing how we responded, and noticing basic things like our personalities, vocabulary, and chemistry with each other. Then there was the back-and-forth conversation that we had with my parents, too – the banter. It was fascinating. Our voices, as you would expect, were young and full of energy, with the calming voices of our parents transcending it all. By listening to my dad, you can tell it was something he so obviously loved, with his personality and wit so evident. So cool – and what a joy to have and treasure.
Especially if you have little – or even big – kids in your life. The next time you have vacation – big or small – take some photos of the family during the day (which you’d most likely do anyway, right?). Then, pick a half-dozen or so of your favorites, upload them to TightKnit (or your favorite story-telling site), and create a story album for that day.
Gather the family and have a “slide show.” As each photo comes up, press the “record” button to capture the conversation. You probably won’t have to say much to get them talking, but you can certainly ask what they were doing at the time to get them going. Do this for each photo. Then, on the last one, ask the question, “what was your favorite thing today?” Then just let them talk – all being captured by the recording.
While you may not listen to it right away, it is likely going to be something you all will listen to in the years to come. As a good friend of mine likes to say, “you never know when you are going to make a memory,” and chances are, you made a lot of them on that particular vacation day.
And – bonus of bonuses – you can share your story album – with your recordings – with other family members who would love to see and hear all about your trip.
TightKnit is the perfect place for families and friends to share and preserve their photos, memories and life stories, together.
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