When my husband and I were dating we started talking about the future like any other couple. How many kids, where we would live, what our life would be like as we grew old. We started to plan the whole future based on what we expected to happen.
LIFE GETS SERIOUS
About six months into our relationship we developed this little symbol to show our love for each other (complete with a hand gesture to show each other across crowded rooms) and came up with a mantra for our relationship “Making Memories Forever”. On our one year anniversary we even designed promise rings with the little symbol and the initials “MMF” engraved on them, made from jewelry from our deceased parents. Our wedding invitations contained those precious words and through our life we have etched our symbol and the initials “MMF” on cards, sand and have even taught our 3 year old the hand gesture.
Making Memories Forever. What does that really mean? For us, it was about living in the moment and not letting an opportunity pass us by. We wanted to be able to live our life and look back and be able to laugh and cry, reminisce about the people we have shared life experiences with, remember little things about the places we had visited and most of all, share memories together. When we started our journey to have children, we had big hopes and dreams of an easy process and pregnancy, just like most couples do.
LIFE GETS HARD
I wanted to make the first “I’m pregnant” declaration to my husband in the most memorable and special way; looking up sneaky things like serving baby carrots and baby corn for dinner or giving him the positive test in a cigar case, something fun. Instead, I came home after bleeding for 40 days to say “Well, I’m pregnant! But they can’t find a heartbeat.” At that point, we found ourselves living in the world of infertility, D&Cs, shots and tests…all the damn horrible tests.
Now, looking back at our many years of “trying to conceive” (or “TTC” in the online world), I don’t remember all the details of the months waiting or the different fertility drugs we did or even how acupuncture felt, but I do remember the way my husband would wake up every morning for months and make me a plate of egg whites in various flavors (like lemon pepper; Asian style with soy sauce; even some with siracha sauce), because one doctor told us that eating egg whites would help my body absorb the specific drugs I was shooting myself with.
My memories are not of the pain I had to go through to recover from three D&Cs for miscarriages or the shots or the physical tests and things that were done to my body to figure out “what was wrong with it”. Instead I remember Mary Jo who brought us dinners after each of the D&Cs; of Jill who drove me to/from and waited for me during my last D&C so my husband could stay at home with our son; our dear friends, Ellen & Kevin who supported us and listened to us and let us cry when needed with love and support; and all the other people in our lives who gave us space or words of encouragement. Our memories of that very tough time for us was not of the tough time but of the people and the little things and togetherness we felt.
My husband and I have different memories of the same thing and that is what makes MMF even MORE special. We each walk away from an event with different memories and talking about our individual memories and emotions makes those events more special as we see them throw each others eyes. I also enjoy sharing memories with friends and being fascinated by what they remember from something…I have friends who remember the most smallest details of a conversations whereas I remember more the surroundings and environment and feelings in that moment.
A business has a mission statement, so why can’t a marriage or family have one too? We use this statement to define our life and who we are. According to Wikipedia a mission statement
“…is a statement of the purpose of a company, organization or person, its reason for existing.
The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. It provides “the framework or context within which the company’s strategies are formulated.” It’s like a goal for what the company wants to do for the world.”
This is what “MMF” is to our relationship, it guides our live, our vacations, our purchases. It helps us to make our future family decisions and it is what we want to do for each other and for our children. Now, I’m not saying we get this right 100% of the time or remember it always, but in dire needs and moments we do go back to this mantra and allow it to form our life.
As a parent, I want my children to Make Memories Forever and I want to be part of those memories. I want them to remember the fun our family had, but also the way we recovered from any hard times. I want to build memories with other people, our friends and family and even strangers when the time is right. I want my children to remember the regular days as well as the special days. I want to be able to reminisce with them in the future and see these days through their eyes. I want to see what they took away from the moments in our lives…what defines their childhood. I’m assuming it will not be the things I most stress about: the clean kitchen, getting to a play date on time, or saying the right (or wrong) thing to another mom. Instead I think it will be the laughter of playing chase around the excitement of going to Disney World for the first time with our friends or the anticipation of starting college, but knowing that we were just a phone call (or video call) away.
Does your family have a mantra? Do you have a symbol of love just for you and your significant other?
Maybe it is time to come up with one and share it with the world! Our Family Friday Challenge is for your family to work on coming up with a mantra and/or family symbol that is special just for you. Something you can express at any time and know that your family values or goals are being met.