“Cakes are special. Every birthday every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake and people remember it’s all about the memories.” – Buddy Valastron
The sun had not long gone down. My daughter seven or so at the time (I’m guessing) had been invited to a skate party at the local skate palace. She was excited. When we arrived the line was long and as we prepared to get out of the car she asked to use the bathroom. Knowing that we wouldn’t be able to move through the line quick enough, I suggested that we head over to the restaurant across the street.
When we pulled up to the restaurant there was Santa Claus I remembered spying. It was at the same time my seven year old said, “Mommy, Santa Claus in smoking!” I had a sharp ping in the gut realizing that this was life’s foreshadowing of a collapse of her childhood innocence.
“Are you going to call the police?” I had to think quick, “Yes, I can’t believe Santa, what is he thinking.” I said, helplessly wanting to strangle Santa, smoking on the side of his Buick! I sat there fogging up the driver side window hoping that Rudolph and all the other reindeers would dash out of a portal above his car and trample Santa right where he stood. That would be better than, “why is Santa smoking?”
So what did I do? I picked up my phone and pretended to call the cops on Santa Claus for smoking in public. It seemed like an eternity sitting there in the car with my daughter prompt up on her knees watching Santa sucking on his cancer stick asking, “Call the police back, they’re taking too long,” she whined.
“Put on your seatbelt. The police will be here any minute, but we have to go.”
She’s thirteen now and we laugh till this day about this Christmas memory. The innocence of childhood is beautiful. At thirteen now, her innocence regarding Santa Claus is loss on distant time, experience and belief.
Writing this today, I realize how important it is to be able to connect memories over time. In seeking to find purpose in my life, I string together memories that will help me recapture moments that changed my trajectory in life at given times. There are memories that seem so innocence. Then there are those that appear to have had no affect at all but then I think, if they meant nothing at all why does certain memories hold enough power to last the test of time? I believe the answer to that question lies in a strong emotional thread that is rooted in: love, hate, and/or hope.
To be able to go back in your memory bank and close the gap, and in some cases make amends, is therapeutic.
One day in the distant future my child will look back on this memory and catch a glimpse of her innocence. I hope that she will also see the shield of protection that her mother attempted to surround her with that she can call love, as well.