Layers of Memory and Legacy

It was my birthday. I don’t remember which one. But my brother pulled me around our neighborhood on my sled. His gift to me.

Another memory: We were grown. His wife was finishing a bout with a 24-hour bug. I must have been having car trouble because he and I were in his car with my five kids and his three kids on our way home from church youth activities.

My sister-in-law wanted a Big Mac–her post-illness craving. So we pulled into a McDonald’s drive-through for our one sandwich order–with ten people in the car.

My brother joked “Can we have a knife with that? We have to cut it up ten ways?”

The worker turned to comply when my brother said, “No, no, I’m just kidding.” People who work in McD drive-throughs probably see it all.

Soon after that, he and his family moved to the northwestern-most corner of our state–about a four-hour drive away.

We visited each other in summers and sometimes over Thanksgiving or Easter weekend. Sometimes, one or two of my kids would enjoy an extended visit.

He and his wife have modeled nearly 45 years of marriage. But his parenting style also caught the attention of my kids.

Last week, my brother got to spend most of a vacation week with most of my kids and their kids.

It gave them the chance to tell him what he meant to them as they were growing up.

Yesterday we had a family birthday celebration. We sang “Happy Birthday” to three of us, each from a different generation. Multiple birthday celebrations are common with our crowd. And when we get to the names part of the song, we are all calling names in random order. Joyful chaos.

Love is in the singing and the celebration. The food and the talking. Love is in the everyday living. Love is in the memories we carry with us.

There is power in the building of memories. Character grows in the young by thin layers built upon previous layers. We can’t see the importance of a simple layer until later.

Each story, each instance a touching of hearts, another layer.

“The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.” ~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Each layer, touch, story, memory built over a lifetime to glue us together. To make us family.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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22 Replies to “Layers of Memory and Legacy”

  1. This is beautiful, Nancy! Vacations, childhood random moments, lazy afternoons just doing nothing but being together… all of these memories build up to make a lifetime of love. Thank you for this.

  2. This is a great reminder of the importance of family relationships. I fear for so many children today that they are not making these memories with extended family members. This was a blessing to read. Thanks

    1. Thanks, Beth. I have the same fear. My brother and my dad stepped in and made a big difference for my kids when it really mattered. God bless!

  3. I love these memories. My brother and I are in a difficult season; I think I’ll reach out to him this evening. Family can be tough but it’s important to keep lines of communication open.

  4. Such a beautiful post, Nancy. It sounds like your family has created a powerful legacy that spans your generations.

    I loved this: Character grows in the young by thin layers built upon previous layers.

    It’s true. As I think about the lessons our sons currently grapple with, I am understanding they are building character via their choices. Hubs and I are here to guide them, to encourage them, but they will take lessons they’ve learned through us and others and weave them into the fabric of who they are becoming.

    You’ve got me thinking about legacy today… 🙂

  5. Character built layer by layer- great description for us to remember as we pour love into the young ones around us. It takes all of us to make sure each layer is laid upon the foundation of Christ

  6. As my parents got old, I remember thinking I need to create memories while I can. They are gone but now we do that more often. Creating memories with families are so important

  7. Families can be beautiful with so many eventful memories built over the years. There is very little that can compare. I enjoyed your story. I love it when families are united. My immediate family is like that and I hope it will continue. Thanks for this picture.

  8. What an inspiring post, Nancy! Thank you for giving us a glimpse into the love you share with your extended family. It makes me realize our efforts to share these moments with our loved ones are not forgotten, but stored in those many layers. I pray for the strengthening of what has been laid and what is to come in each of our families. God bless you and yours!

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