This past weekend I trekked up to Portland, Maine
to celebrate with my parents their 44th wedding anniversary, along with my sister Meredith, uncle Ronnie and aunt Marcia. And while 44 years may seem like a long time, my father had his own take.
“Loving time is different from calendar time,” he said as we walked along the beach, the sun reflecting onto our faces. “When you have family it’s one long continuous duration, punctuated only by the artificial constructs like daylight and night, school, children, meals, because
our spiritual selves don’t change. I’m the same person pretty much who I was when I was 17. That’s the adventure.”
And what an adventure it’s been. Three kids, a few apartments, two homes, 3 bat mitzvahs, a wedding, two grandchildren, a couple of dogs, career mishaps, endless afterschool activities, scraped knees, broken hearts, holiday meals, and so much more.
Over the weekend, we hiked, ate delicious meals, and even ventured into Soakolgy, a foot soak and teahouse for a quiet respite. While sipping chai tea and nibbling gluten free oatmeal raisin cookies, my mom mentioned that while preparing her taxes, she came across old check registers and receipts. Before shredding them, she enjoyed the memories they brought, like a journal of past experiences. Check stubs for their first Dodge Caravan, past vacations and even the orthodontist. We reminisced about that fa
mily trip to St. Thomas when my dad misplaced his wallet (long before ATMs) and he joked we’d have to wash dishes in exchange for food. Memories that otherwise might have been forgotten.
With tax season approaching, it’s the perfect opportunity to toss older receipts and tax returns (check with the IRS on how long to save, it varies), but before you do, it might be fun to pick a few receipts at random and see what memories they bring. For me, this included having my car towed when it died on the Mass Pike in the middle of the night, an expensive dress for a friend’s wedding in which she divorced a year later, and a restaurant in Peru where my wallet and passport were stolen.
Some like to say don’t look back, but I think it’s good to remember where we’ve been. We can learn a lot from our past, which can even help our future. Like when traveling overseas it’s a good idea to hide copies of your passport in your luggage.