Years ago when I was a child, maybe 7 years old or so, we went to a nearby park with my parents and sisters. We played in the grass, sat on the see-saw, held on tight to the merry-go-round as it furiously went round and round. After an evening of play, we nibbled on cold, sweet golas (shaved ice). It was a wonderful day – something I will always treasure. Without knowing, my parents had created a special memory for me. A refreshing spring that I could go to on any day; wet my fingers, splash the water onto my face and close my eyes as I let myself remember.
As a parent, I often think of how an everyday action of mine, a word, a gesture may somehow make its way into the consciousness of my children. I know we can’t be perfect all the time so it doesn’t harm to periodically remember this. Who knows what happening our child picks up on and carries around as a memory without any of our knowing. An ordinary event might just become special.
Last year, when my son turned 4, we had a special day. He didn’t go to his pre-school that day. Instead, we drove to the train station. We bought 2 tickets to cover 4 stations on the Caltrain. We stood on the platform, enjoyed the sun and watched as trains hauled in and out. We caught our train and sat inside, making sure we had a window seat. We watched little houses, bikers, cars whizz by.
We then got down in our station and walked to a restaurant. There we sat – mother and son – looking through the menu and asking each other what we might like to eat. The guests at the other table looked at us and smiled. The waiter took extra care to bring my son ice cold water in a closed container with a lid and a straw. We waited patiently for our food and enthusiastically tried everything we both had ordered. The hummus was fresh. The bread soft and warm. The sweet potato fries was, of course, our favorite.
Then we took a walk around downtown. We looked for a fish tank store but learned it had been converted to a candy and knick knack store for children. Of course, we had to buy some candy while we were in there. Then as we sauntered around we found ourselves at a little toy shop. Though the intention was to just browse around, we ended up buying a long blue train. Afterall, it was the little man’s birthday. We even got a fancy pencil with a spring-mounted tiny figurine attached to it as a gift by the shopkeeper. We even went to what used to be my favorite coffee shop and ordered some hot chocolate. Finally, we made our way back to the station. We settled in our seats inside the train and gazed from the window as the houses, bikes and cars whizzed by again.
It must have made an impression on my son because every so often he will look at me with dreamy eyes and ask, “Mamma, when can we do a special day again?”
Sometimes we go to the park, sometimes to the library and sometimes we try a new restaurant. It is a tradition now. Not too often, else it wouldn’t be special. But not too rare that we might forget how much we both love it. A special day.