Creating Childhood Memories and a Sad Farewell

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

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  1. What a beautiful post about both family and your lovely memories of your beloved Nana.

  2. Joyful Learner says:

    I was also very close with my grandmother before she passed away. She was the one who brought everyone together. She has had the greatest impact on my life and I still think of her often. Hugs to you and your family. You're so right…childhood is short-lived. I want to make the most of the time we have together.

  3. Taylor Made says:

    Thanks for sharing such a touching post …memories are so important because one day they are all we have…hopefully they are big, bold and bright memories of the ones we love.

  4. So sorry to hear about your Nanna, Christie. My Nanna and Grandad passed away recently, and it hit me pretty hard. Even though they lived in another state, they were always there in holidays, with letters and phone calls, cards and things.

    Grandparents are such special people.

  5. amandab says:

    Sorry for your loss. Your Nana sounds like my Nana, she rings everyone in the family at least once a week, more if she has some news about someone she thinks we need to know.

    Growing up, Sundays were at her house, as well as stays during holidays.

    My granddad is not so good now, and the age is showing on both of them. She spoils all of us still, grandkids, partners and great-granchildren. She's a crazy old lady, always has been, but I don't know how we will cope when she is gone.

    A beautiful post, I hope there was no suffering for her before she went.

  6. katepickle says:

    What fabulous memories… the perfect way to celebrate a wonderful woman. Many Hugs.

  7. PlanningQueen says:

    A lovely tribute to your Nana Christie. My nana had ducks flying on her wall too, could instantly remember them when I read your post.

  8. Louise Jane says:

    Such a lovely post, has made me think of all lovely memories of my Grandparents.

    Hope you have a good weekend.

    Lou x

  9. Teacher Tom says:

    I'm sorry to hear about your Nanna. What a lovely tribute to her.

  10. MissyBoo says:

    It sounds like your Nan featured fondly in many of your childhood memories. Hugs Christie.

  11. Sorry to hear you lost your Nanna May she sounds like the quintessential Nana and so many lovely memories. Mine are both in their 80s and we are trying to spend as much time with them and let the kids see them and do things with them often to store up these memories and special times and get the influence of an older generation. Blessed to have 5 generations on my side and 4 on my husbands side. a real privilege. just as it was to share in your tribute to your Nanna. I am sure she will be missed and remembered often and with love x

  12. [email protected] says:

    Sorry to hear about your Nana – what a beautiful post you have written about her and your family. Thank you for sharing it with us and for the reminder about what is important in life xo

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