This Saturday we did something we rarely do: nothing. There were no birthday parties, no sporting events, no family obligations and no errands that couldn’t wait for another day. As we lounged around our living room, something high up on the bookshelf caught my eye. It was my baby album and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to share it with my kids.
They had a hard time believing I was ever so small and I had a hard time believing that my Mom had committed so much time and energy to putting this album together. In addition to all the expected inputs (locks from my first haircut, pictures of my first bath, first Christmas and, alarmingly enough, at ten months, my first beer!), it also has some unexpected inclusions.
For starters, this album commemorates far more than my first year, or even my first few years; it chronicles the meaningful moments of my life until “September 1984: 13 years old: 5 feet, 1 ½ inches; 86 pounds.” I imagine the documentation stops after this because I was driving my mother crazy and my antics were better not memorialized! In any case, my Mom meticulously tracked my birthdays, Christmases, my growth and my “medical history” with some interesting notations including “January 1978: the flu, I think!” and “November 1978: Impetigo (UGH!).”
The majority of my accomplishments are captured, ranging from “January 31, 1972: Kerry rolled from her stomach to her back, and was very pleased with herself” to “June 10, 1976: Kerry graduated from kindergarten. It was so enjoyable for us to see—she had the only feature part in the ceremony.” Of note, I was the valedictorian of my kindergarten class; sadly, I peaked too early as that was an honor never to be repeated!
As we strolled down the memory lane of my childhood, my kids were fascinated… the matching outfits and funny hair-dos left all of our little Lyons Cubs longing for more. And so it was that another hour passed swiftly by as I showed them our wedding album, my husband supplied the narrative for our honeymoon album and last but not least, we stumbled upon an album entitled “Ireland: Summer 2000.”
This was the year that Des and I met and this was our first big vacation together. I’d flown to Dublin to meet him after he completed a continuing legal education class at Trinity. In the course of just five days and four nights, we hit a handful of pubs in Dublin, strolled the beach in Bray, made a pit stop in Wexford, visited the Lyons family origins in Cork, watched the sunset in Kinsale, kissed the Blarney Stone and, needless to say, each other! It was a fairy tale trip during a fairy tale time in our lives… young and in love, with no worries, few obligations, boundless energy and no idea that ten years later, we’d have five little Lyons of our own.
Reliving those memories as our kids rolled around the couch like the little Cubs they are was the best possible way to spend a Saturday afternoon. It also renewed my commitment to keep up with photo albums and memorializing the moments that matter most… like when Liam leaps into my arms on the rare day I can actually be home to meet him at the school bus. Or the way that Ciara will crawl into my lap and tell ME that everything will be ok on the days I have my doubts. Or the way that Declan jumps up and down in his crib, Cormac asks “how ARE you today?!” or Kevin sweetly requests an “Uppie Mama.”
I might not – ok, I definitely won’t! – chronicle each of my five kids height and weight and, truth be told, I’ve had to fudge the answer to when Liam and Ciara first walked and rolled over on their pre-school forms because I honestly don’t have a clue! But, thanks to the tradition my Mom started, I have a new found appreciation for these little moments that matter most -- like simply doing nothing at all on an occasional Saturday afternoon.