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Save Those Summer Vacation Memories

June 9, 2018

Another Way for week of June 8, 2018

How to Make Sure You Save Those Summer or Vacation Memories

I was flying somewhere, back in the days when my work took me out of state maybe five to six times a year. I no longer remember the details except for some notes I took in a notebook I recently discovered—and loved the story those notes contained!

A mother of three young children clearly had her hands full flying without a partner: by my judgment, they looked to be about six, four, and a toddler. The four-year-old girl looked particularly mischievous and earned a quick “You will sit over here” when she tried to claim a seat across the aisle with her brother.

The mom, to her credit, definitely had the children under control, yet the four-year-old consistently challenged her mother and at one time, in some way, ended up on the floor, my notes say. I think my own days of raising three under the age of six were not that long past at the time. So I was happy to be flying solo. Flying with littles is not for the faint of heart.

I absorbed myself for most of the flight reading or working on materials. At one point though I noticed, to my somewhat frozen horror, that the children were now reaching back from their row and placing their hands on the seat tray that the well-dressed businessman had pulled down in front of him. What on earth were they doing? How annoying! They wiggled their hands closer and closer to the man’s hands, which were busy writing (with pen and paper).

Then the man finished his writing and tore off a short note and put it in the boy’s hand. I realized they were passing notes through the seat gap! Just for fun, the business traveler was creatively entertaining the two would-be potential handfuls!

Then I saw that the children were drawing pictures and sending them back, and he was captioning them, or something. I noticed that at least two other passengers seated directly behind this row started enjoying the little game as well. We were all smiling.

Counting the mom, her three kids, himself and three passengers, that was eight people being entertained and amused. I instantly loved that man, for his ingenuity, imagination and apparent love of children.

As I reflected on this incident these many many years later, I’m pondering two takeaways. How like Jesus this man was, engaging with the children who ended up by his side, or in this case, the seat in front of him on an airplane! Biblically, I’m referring to the story of Jesus and the children, who the well-meaning disciples wished to chase away—not wanting the teacher to be bothered by little ones interrupting their discussion.

Three of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) include variations on this story: “And they brought young children to him; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.’”

“Suffer” here is the archaic usage meaning “allow to occur or continue, permit, tolerate.” The man on the plane not only tolerated the natural playfulness and curiosity of the children, but blessed them—and their mother, by entertaining them in his low-key way. Blessed be all those adults who welcome children whether as teachers, daycare providers, parents and grandparents.

My second take away is I would have never remembered this true tale from my travels if I had not written it down. So when you or your children have special moments and little experiences this summer, jot them down in whatever notebook or smart phone or scrap of napkin you have handy—just a few words to jog your memory. Then take the time later if need be, to flesh out what happened, with the little telling details that will bring a smile or a tear many years later.

People often talk about making memories to last a lifetime. Sorry to tell you this: the memories may be in our heads, but digging them up takes notes and in my book, written-down descriptions. You don’t have to write down each experience (heaven forbid) but make time this summer to make sure you record some of those precious moments.

Later, you will thank me. You’re welcome.


I’d love to hear about any memorable moments from some of your travels! Share here if you will…

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  



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  1. What a beautiful memory. Alas, I fear I would not have been that patient, creative gentleman. I probably would have been grumbling – not aloud – but inside I would have been more of the rebuking nature.
    And yes on the notes! Now that my boys are grown and raising their own young ones, I’m starting to write memories about their young years and wish I would have written more down when it happened!

    • I know what you mean, Trisha, I guess my notes on the topic spell out my first reaction.
      And I wish I would have written more. My notes stop rather abruptly!

      Some of the stories and experience my daughters write and send in emails about their children I save in a folder. Not sure they will be as easy to find as paper notes in a file, but we’ll see! Thanks for stopping by, Trisha.

  2. I have kept journals of all our European vacations, and some in Canada, many of them providing fodder for blog posts. Now I think I’ll rely more on Instagram.

    This post is also a great reminder that I need a vacation, not of the “Fly Me to the Moon” variety, just something calming and cool, like a mountain retreat. Great post!

    • I have an Instagram account but haven’t caught on to how to make it work for me. 🙂 I’ll have to see if I can find you there. And I’m sure you are needing a retreat after your past several months. Hope that works out for you! And now, heading off to the movies, something we don’t indulge in often! Take care, Marian.

      • Athanasia permalink

        Just curious, what movie would/did you go to?

  3. Beverly Silver permalink

    Most of my memories of the times with the little boys – you know who – are from snapshots I took – actually rather a lot of them. Such fun to look back at the good times and just at home times. Both are now graduated, but the snapshots trigger those memories, I have not written much at all! Thanks for sharing so beautifully! Beverly

    • Snapshots pull us back in to those days, aren’t they precious. I sometimes think about my Amish and Old Order friends who have no such memory triggers–no photos at all.

      And thank you for being so supportive–to all your family and to your church family and beyond! You have a beautiful spirit.

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