I had one of those ideal childhoods. I grew up in Edmonds, a sweet beachy suburb just 20 minutes north of Seattle. I spent my summers writing my name in the sand, tie dying t-shirts at day camp, and playing with American Girl Dolls. We’d at least once a year go as a family to Cannon Beach or the Oregon Coast where my sister and I ran around collecting sea glass for my mom and ate salt water taffy we’d bought at an old timey candy shop. I feel so fortunate to have had the childhood my parents gave me.
I know there were bad moments hidden in all that joy somewhere. But those were never the memories I clung to. I have always looked back on, and identified with, the best times in my life.
Last week, we all went to the waterfront. I planned every detail. I had hopes of getting downtown early enough to miss the crowd getting on the ferris wheel, and then we’d ride the carousel and stop to watch the ships come in. Instead, it took us forever to find parking and Mila was super cranky when she woke up from her nap. Then Lucy got her heart set on some tiger stuffed animal in one of those machines with the claws and we didn’t want to spend $75 trying to win it. We threw in the towel and headed back home.
When we got home we were all famished and decided to walk to Dick’s Drive-In. Lucy already seemed over the stuffed animal crisis and was back to her usual spirited self. Frolicking and twirling around the trail as the rest of us walk.
As we sat there on the curb passing fries, Justin told us the story of the night Mila was born and how he came here while I was in labor and wanted everyone to “just leave me alone”. I then shared my own memories of being a no-good teenager coming here late at night with my friends as Lucy swiped bites of my burger. Mila manages to pop one arm out of her sling and starts grabbing at my food so I distract her with a straw to play with. I love when our family feels like a well oiled machine. Passing this, sharing that, and knowing exactly what to do to keep Mila content.
These weren’t the memories I had planned on making. Still, I wont look back on this day and feel let down. I’m not going to remember parking lots or tantrums. I’ll remember laughing. And sharing. I’ll remember Lucy singing, loudly, as we all walked down the trail. And Mila giggling as I kiss her tiny hands. Instead of remembering our adventure to the waterfront, this day will be stored away in my memories as Mila’s first trip to Dick’s Drive-In.