One way Noel gets me out of my homebody ways, up off the couch, and out into the world doing things I ordinarily judge to be too much hassle is to remind me that we need to make memories for the kids.
That resonates with me. My childhood is full of such memories, from vacations to family gatherings to all sorts of special events, and I realize now that my parents were going out of their way to make sure we had experiences to tuck away in our memory banks.
We don't have the resources to give our kids some of the trips I took as a kid. But thankfully, our kids are of the disposition to take our word for it that some little trip or experience is special. They open all their senses as wide as they will go and drink in those hours and days. Then they regale us with their memories for years to come. I know we have been successful in making memories when I see their eyes light up as they fall over themselves telling us what they saw, felt, heard, tasted, and did.
Because we're the only branch of the family west of the Mississippi, it's hard on everyone else to find a reunion location far enough our way to make travel reasonable. We're always going to have the longest drive or be the ones who have to take a couple of flights, and I'm grateful that my brothers and parents appreciate and understand that. For my part, I promise to remember how important those memories are, especially when they involve family, and cooperate as best as our schedule will allow in setting aside time and taking some trouble to make sure they happen.