A few years back, my husband and I started a tradition of making memories with one grandchild at a time for a full week. This past week was eleven-year-old Lydia’s turn.
Lydia and I drove south into California where we hugged a redwood tree, and marveled at the crashing Pacific waves, and spotted elk, and eventually landed on an organic beef ranch owned by extended family in a cute little Victorian village called Ferndale.
Lydia’s favorite memories of that place? Petting horses. Naming chickens. Riding an all-terrain utility vehicle to “help” feed the cows. Making a gingerbread house. Sleeping in a tent in the living room with cousins. And stealing her great-uncle’s easy chair when he made the mistake of getting up.
Back in central Oregon, we visited the Porch Fairy, and had pancakes for dinner, and saw Little Women at the theater, and I taught her how to sew hair scrunchies—which, apparently you wear on your wrist and not actually in your hair (it’s a middle-school girl thing). Oh, and we sampled the merchandise at Ida’s Cupcake Cafe.
At one point, Lydia asked, “Of all the things we did, what was your favorite?”
“Hmmm,” I pondered. “If I had to narrow it down, it would be our road trip conversations. And seeing you enjoy an activity I enjoy.”
We schlepped through powder and posed with snowmen and recorded video to send to her mom. And much laughter rang out across the snow.
It was Nanea Hoffman who said:
Go make stuff today. Make coffee. Make a ruckus. Make a difference. Make a memory. Make time for someone or something you love. The world needs makers.
I made time for one-on-one fun with a granddaughter for a week.
We made some epic memories in northern California and central Oregon.
And I suspect this time together made a difference in her life — because I am one more adult who loves her and is partnering with her parents in nurturing her physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually.
What if we could make some cool stuff in 2020?
Make a new friend.
Make a place in our hearts for a foster or adoptive child.
Make dinner for the family that moved in down the street.
Make a plan to declutter closets and cupboards and garages—to give away our excess stuff to someone who needs it.
Make time for a friend who’s grieving: listen as she talks, pick her kids up after school for a play date with ours, offer to grocery shop or clean her house.
Make something of lasting value in a third world country — a school, a clinic, a better life.
Make amends. Because people are our most valuable assets. (After posting this piece, a wise reader sent this: “Sometimes we need to make amends.” And so I added it here … thank you, Martha!)
Make un-erasable memories with a loved one.
What if you could make something really great in 2020? You can. Some assembly may be required.