Memories / by Katie Brightbill

After a big day of travel across the country yesterday, and celebrating the best little four year old I've ever met, today I am simply going to write.

Christmas is coming. I've always loved this time of year. In my adult life, it became much about specialty coffees and nostalgic music, but my kids have started making it feel magical. Rather than reminiscing about good old days when I made lasting memories, we're instead making new memories that last. Rather than looking behind, I'm enjoying the time simply being.

Simplicity is a tricky thing in our world these days. We have the ability to communicate with people across the world and often, our next door neighbors are the last people we call when we need anything.  We can hop on a plane and get across the country in a few hours, but sometimes when our friends have babies, we find it very difficult to drive 45 minutes to visit them. We have so much luxury, but sometimes I skew my priorities and miss what's right in front of me.

When I first had Sophie, four delightful years ago, I really had no friends in the same boat as me. Everyone had day jobs, and Sophie and I were basically on our own during the day. I didn't have a car (still don't), so I wasn't driving to get from here to there. Although I often felt lonely for friends my own age, the two of us had such a sweet time together making memories. We weren't in any hurry to get anywhere. We had all the time in the world to go to the grocery store and home, and we'd walk to the bay and picnic and play in the grass with a ball or toy more days than not. Simplicity.

As kids get older, they obviously become more social. It takes me being deliberate not to over-schedule and make our lives too hurried. I like taking them to activities, but I also really want my kids to be able to just be kids, playing their little hearts out with their imaginations. And here's the trickiest part of the whole simplifying thing: I want to imagine with them.

How easy it is to just build a tent and let them play and kind of watch or go clean the house... but how many more memories I'll make if I stay and crawl inside those tents and turn on the flashlight and we take turns telling stories together. How easy it is to just bake the cookies while they're taking naps, but how much more fun if we all make a mess together.

I don't want to live my life constantly looking for the next thing. I want to make memories today...

...and today, we will make our home look like Christmas is coming!