Thursday, December 30, 2010

Building the future, one memory at a time...

I just spent three days doing what I love most! I ate mac and cheese with chicken nuggets, played numerous games that I never won, watched as clutter and crumbs spread throughout my house, and slept barely hanging onto the edge of my bed while feet and arms thrashed me throughout the night. While that may not sound terribly appealing at first glance, add to the picture two charming granddaughters and suddenly you have a recipe for happiness! Our quiet, tidy home was transformed for a few days into a noisy, messy scene full of giggles and joy. They live 150 miles from me, so the opportunities to pamper and spoil them do not come often enough, especially during the school months when we are all so busy. But it is Christmas vacation, so we took advantage of the opportunity! We went to the store and selected their favorite foods for our meals, filled our days with games (Farkle, Find it, and Sorry) and sledding, watched movies together each evening (The Sound of Music, Ramona and Beezus, and A Christmas Carol), and (my personal favorite) snuggled in bed with books to read together before sleeping each night.

Early the morning we were to take them home, I found myself reflecting on a much earlier time in my life. I was drawn back in my memories to childhood days in my grandparent's home on the Oregon coast. I remembered playing endless card games as my grandmother taught my brother and I how to play pinochle and cribbage. There were always yummy foods like gumdrop bars (I still have the green cookie jar she kept them in) and lemon chiffon ice cream, as well as fresh strawberries from my grandfather's garden. In the evenings we watched television together. Our favorite programs were Candid Camera and Gunsmoke. Grandma always slept with us, and I remember reading comic books together before we slept. Living by the Pacific Ocean, there was no snow, of course, but Grandma always took time to take us to the beach to climb the rocks and search for treasures in the sand. It struck me that those memories were the lessons that taught me how to be a grandmother. I live by her example, passing on to my grandchildren the loving care that was shown to me.

Taking time for a child is a greater investment than one could possibly imagine. Each memory and experience is a building block for the future. My grandparents, my parents, my teachers, and other significant adults in my past all influenced the life I would eventually lead. The days spent playing with my granddaughters were not only fun times together, they were the creation of memories that will help shape the future of two children that mean the world to me. The time I spend as a teacher, as well, is time that has the potential to impact the future of the children I teach. I hope my teaching is meaningful enough so that students will reflect on lessons learned in my classroom as they grow to be adults. I hope one day many years from now my grandkids will find themselves playing with their own grandchildren and think of the times they spent with me, building the future, one memory at a time...


  1. All those hopes will come to be, Cheryl. What lucky children are your grandchildren! What lucky children are your students! I could only wish a little of that love for all the children in the world. Kudos to you! We love and admire you. Helen and Bob

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Helen. We love you and Bob as well!

  3. Very well said, Cheryl. My feelings exactly! We spent every summer in Seattle with my Grandmother. My Mom and we kids literally "moved into" her house, while Dad stayed home in CA to work. She always said she saw us more because of those months than she did the grands that lived in the area! Happy Memories!

  4. Cheryl. I remember when my second grandchild was born. I wrote a letter to my grandmother thanking her for all the wonderful memories she gave me that I was now passing on to my own grandchildren. After she died, I found the letter in her dresser with the note, "for Cathleen." I read it at her funeral. I just loved this entry. Thank you for sharing your passion with us and with the children in your classroom!