Families can be complicated. My extended family is complicated. In fact, that is probably a major understatement. When I was a teenager I had dreams of making my fortunate by writing a daytime soap based on the complex, extended relationships in my family – think ‘Bold and the Beautiful,’ suburban style. Yep, we are complicated.
Last week we said a final goodbye to the matriarch of one arm of the family. My Nanna was the one who for the longest time kept each of us informed of what the others were doing, where we were in the world, how many children we had, that sort of thing. When I (and she) was younger, she was the one who would bring us together for holidays or celebrations.
My Nan wasn’t perfect. Not everyone agreed with her decisions and choices. But she was my Nan and when I was a young child, I spent a good deal of time staying with her and my Pop. I have many snippets of fond memories of those times. Little pictures in my mind like…
- The steep red ramp up to the sliding door at the back, the way we always went in.
- Your retro kitchen complete with the classic aluminum canisters with pastel coloured lids and your wooden sugar bowl with matching spoon.
- Your living room filled with family photos and a family of ducks flying across the walls.
- Eating trifle or stewed apples and rhubarb with warm, creamy custard.
- Raiding your wardrobe to play dress ups.
- Feeding the fish in the fishpond way down the back.
- Hours of fun in the cubby house Pop built in the backyard.
- When I was sick, I didn’t like to take tablets so my you would crush them up and give them to me mixed into a little spoonful jam.
- Holidays down south after packing the whole house into the car (including the dog and cat) with long walks searching for cowry shells on the beach.
- Being allowed to sleep outside on the trampoline with TL and E.
- Door knocking for Telethon and being taken to the studio to hand our collection in, live TV is pretty exciting at any age!
- Pop’s big, dark shed, pretty scary when Pop wasn’t around but filled with treasure when he was.
- Catching tadpoles in the stream behind your house.
- Sitting in the dark together, watching old family ‘movies’ and countless numbers of photo ‘slides.’
- “Synchronised” swimming in your above ground pool with TL.
- The funny way Pop brushed his teeth before breakfast, and then again afterwards.
- Countless hours of stories you read to me and my cousins whilst we were all snuggled up in our beds.
Such little things and over a week spent thinking about this post and yet the tears fall as I write this. Such is the power of childhood memories. Whatever your family looks like, whoever it includes, and however complicated those relationships are, these are the people who are most likely featuring in the childhood story of your child’s life. Do you ever wonder what your child will grow up remembering? What memories will they keep as the years pass by? How you and your family will feature in your child’s memories?
Children are children for such a short time. Creating memories is about spending time together, being regularly present in each other’s lives. Please don’t waste time and put it off until tomorrow. Reach out to those you care about and plan some time together today.
RIP Nanna May xx