I’ve got a question for you… what do you think of when you think of your childhood summers?
When I think of my childhood summers, I’m instantly hit with the smell of lemon juice (that my mum used to put in my baby blonde hair on a hot sunny day!), or that gorgeous smell of sun-kissed skin with a hint of grass… from playing outside for hours on end, building forts and playing rounders or football. Yes, I was a Tomboy through and through. I remember ice-cream cones, long hot summer cycles with my mum and nights spent camping in sleeping bags beside the beach with my mum and dad, I remember picking periwinkles… cooking sausages on an outdoor fire…you get the idea.
The reality is that growing up in Ireland, mostly we endured summers that brought rain and gray skies, but when I look back, nostalgia brings me instantly to the wonderful memories of those few precious days spent soaking up summer sunshine with my family, when we were hit with a very rare heatwave. My memories are vague but evoke such a feeling of happy nostalgia that it almost brings me to tears when I allow myself to delve into them. If only I had a better memory of them all. Having lost my Dad this year, this feeling of ‘if only I had documented’ this or that event has become a common regret for me.
We get many orders placed with Just Happy Tears to celebrate lots of different occasions… birthdays, weddings new babies, a gift from a bride to her groom and vice versa… anniversary gifts, get well soon gifts… the list is endless.
Recently, we received an order to celebrate something entirely different… memories. A family had gone on a very special holiday recently… they spent two weeks soaking up the various sights, sounds and tastes of the West Coast of the US. The mom knew that her kids would always hold very special memories of this trip but wanted to ensure that the most special memories of all… the silly jokes, the little songs, the various excursions on their trip would never ever be pushed into various synapses of the brain as forgotten memories, never to emerge again.
I have to admit, it was something I had never thought of doing… we have pictures to remember things right? We can make videos and revisit them from time to time. If we’re proactive enough we may even save them on a drive somewhere just in case we ever want to have a look at them in the years to come!
This mom was a step ahead of us all though… She ordered three beautiful wood prints from Just Happy Tears, with a poem documenting their trip… from stops along the way to the music they played in the car, to an episode with a jellyfish, to a night camping beneath the stars and the food that they ate at the campfire. It’s stunningly beautiful. When ordering she said, she wanted something to remember this trip that her kids would have forever, that they could take with them wherever they ventured in life, that they could eventually show their own kids. We brought her her wish.
Right after my Dad passed away, someone told me to write down all the beautiful conversations we’d had in the few days prior to his death. I did it and I revisit them to find comfort and closeness to him. My memories are all I have now. They’re more precious than anything else that I own. I have pictures too… pictures of us together… beautiful pictures that I’ll treasure forever. Pictures that help me remember those amazing summer days when life was light and what flavor ice-cream to have was my biggest worry.
But the words he spoke to me throughout my life will always be much more powerful than any picture. I’m taking a leaf out of our customers book… someday when I feel strong enough, I’ll write a poem about the last words my Dad spoke to me… I’ll remember his intonation and his gestures and I’ll be able to hear him saying as he always did, ‘Lisa pet, tomorrow is a new day’.
A picture can paint a thousand words… but what about the other 170,000 words in the dictionary?! ;)