March 10, 2021
My young grandson is my sidekick - though some would say my partner in crime. Together, we go on adventures in the forest, play with colorful blocks, and decorate gingerbread houses. I believe these simple moments build invaluable and lasting connections and create strong ties that bind us together. I'm passing down my experiences, preparing him for what I hope will be a rich and fulfilling life. Our time together forms roots that give him a sense of who he is and where he comes from.
The fantastic part is that we live in the twenty-first century, so these special moments are not fleeting. Think about it: Today, most people have a camera tucked away in their pocket. With a simple click, anyone can capture their daily adventures for posterity. Searching for dragons or icing a cake are no longer mere memories - instead, these moments can be captured, forming a visual history of a special bond.
Every time I scroll through my camera roll, I discover a heap of fun pictures. From Saturday morning pancakes to playing in the snow - all of these memories are right there. A few months ago, I had my favorite moments printed. As I laid them out across my home office desk, I discovered I had inadvertently created a visual record. In each picture, my grandson slowly evolved from baby to toddler, then toddler to child. His face thinned, his blonde hair darkened, and of course, he grew like a weed.
But there was something else... something even more powerful: Right before my eyes was the history of us and our growth together. From a tender picture captured shortly after he was born to us sledding down a snowy hillside years later, we had grown stronger each step of the way.
Among these images was one of a stunning sunset over Lake Tahoe. I recall talking about nature's beauty and soaking up the good in life as we watched the sun go down. And there was a cute shot memorializing the time we made a cake for his mother. The discussion we had at that moment could be summed up in the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." During these sweet experiences, he was discovering the importance of caring for other people and the power of thoughtfulness. None of these moments were grand or over the top; they were merely brief periods in time in which life was lived, and my grandson learned about his place in the world.
As I looked at this precious timeline, I realized it was something I wanted to share, as a time capsule of sorts that I could gift to my grandson later in life. When he leaves the nest, I'll give him this treasured record to act as a reminder that his family roots are strong and that he always has a safe place to land. I want him to see that the special moments in life don't have to be comprised of major parties and over-the-top events. Instead, the really valuable memories are based on experiences that may not seem so important at the time but, in retrospect, are cherished and form a tapestry that defines an individual.
So, parents and grandparents: Keep snapping those pictures. They will inevitably become the history of your relationship. The compilation of those pictures will be a family treasure, a visual story of the past that can become a beacon for the future. As Hodding S. Carter stated, "There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots, and the other, wings."