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Recently, Hubby and I watched X-Men First Class, or as my husband likes to now call it, The BEST Movie Ever. Now, I didn’t really think this was the best movie ever made, but there was one scene in particular that caught my attention.

Professor X is talking to Magneto, trying to get him to control his powers. Magneto had only been able to access his powers by channeling his rage, but X suggests he finds a place “between rage and serenity” instead. Looking into his mind, Professor X pulls out Magneto’s happiest memory, a simple one where he and his mother appear to be celebrating Hanukkah. Moved, Magento replies, “I forgot I still had that memory.”

I started wondering what my happiest memory is. Is it something that I have almost forgotten to remember?

Several years ago, traveling home from college with just my dad, I asked him what the happiest day of his life was. I remember thinking it would be something like the day he got married, or when my brother and I were born, but he surprised me. His happiest day happened when I was five, my brother three, and we were on vacation in the mountains. I have a vague memory of ridding on my uncle’s shoulders and watching my dad throw a paper airplane off a mountain right before we left. It was a good, simple day.

My happiest memory? I’m not totally sure, but I know it’s not a big one, like the day I got married or the day Colton was born.

I think, maybe it’s Hubby coming home from work, packing up the baby and dog and going on walks last summer. Or hanging out at the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Aquarium in Tennessee and then getting pancakes this spring. Or maybe it’s that one night this fall when Colton, Hubby┬á and the dog were all in the kitchen with me, underfoot – a little crazy, but wonderful.

None of those days were perfect. When we went on those walks I was still healing, and they were slow and sometimes painful. That night after the Aquarium, Colton refused to sleep in his own room. That night, I’m sure Colton drove me nuts pulling out and throwing every piece of Tupperware we own.

But the feeling in that moment was wonderful.

Sure, sometimes the big things in life are equally wonderful, but I think these little moments we hardly know we remember are what makes life wonderful.

For the past several Christmases, my dad’s parents have said they only want one thing for Christmas: nice cards from their kids and grandkids. And usually we get them for them, but not always. But this Christmas, my mom rounded up my brother, three cousins and I, and had us create a book for them.

Opening Their Present

I created the book using Shutterfly, but each grandchild had their own page where we wrote how much we loved MeMe and PopPop, what we love doing with them, just whatever we feel about them, as well as photos of each of us with them. We also had group pages for things we all regularly did together, with blurbs my mom wrote.

Loving the letters and pictures!

Needless to say, they loved it. Once my grandmother figured out what it was, she got out cards from previous years she kept, which prompted near tears for her and my mother.

MeMe and PopPop with their grandchildren, before their youngest was born.

And really, check out an excerpt from the note my cousin wrote, and tell me YOU wouldn’t be in near tears: “The fact that y’all were always at my sporting events and were always there cheering me on has meant more to me than you’ll ever know. Also thank you so much for raising my dad into the great man that he is today. I love my father and i admire him more than anybody else on the planet so thank you for being such great parents too. Thank for loving my mother and excepting her into your family and allowing her to become the beautiful woman she has become. I am thankful for the influence that you have had in all of our lives and I wish I could express on paper how much y’all have meant to me.” It was longer, but this is the part that really gets me.

PopPop and me

Thankfully, my aunt and uncle, brother and I all have our own copies, so I can read this over and over.

When I turned two years old, someone gave me a snowsuit.

I have no idea where someone found a snowsuit in the beginning of May, or why they thought a snowsuit was a good gift for a child who lived where snow had not been seen in well over a decade.

But, two years later, I put that snowsuit to good use.

I woke up on a Sunday morning to the largest recorded snowfall my hometown has ever seen. A whopping four inches of snow meant this day would go down in history as “The Great Blizzard of 1989.”

I remember being very concerned that my parents had decided not to take us to church that morning, mostly because we wouldn’t see our friends. But my mom assured me no one would make it to church that morning. After all, four inches of snow is enough to grind a community to a standstill; if you don’t have snowplows, you have no choice but to wait for the snow to melt.

So, instead of going to church, we did what any child who’d never seen snow before would do – went outside! I wore my snowsuit, now two and half years old, and barely able to fit over me. The mittens and boots were far too small, so my brother wore them, even though they were purple. I remember wearing two pairs of socks, the top pair with lace ruffles around the cuffs, and being surprised to see ice forming around them.

We laid in our blizzard snowfall, making snow angels, until we hit dirt. We made the world’s smallest snowman, which was also just a tad dirty. Later in the day, my mom and I managed to fight our way out to Main Street, where we built another, larger snowman, and waved to the three cars that passed us by.

The quintessential snow day activity is sledding. But, if your house at 14 feet above sea level is one of the highest points around, how do you go sledding? And how do you sled without a sled? Your dad grabs a shingle sample board, ties a rope to it, and pulls you around the block, of course!

Where I live now, it’s unusual for a child of 4 and a half to have never seen snow. But, I’m glad my hometown let me have a glimpse of the fun snow can bring. I love being able to truly remember my first snow, and having limited snow experience made last winter’s snow-pocalypse a lot more fun.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.

I didn’t spend it with my mother, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t thinking of her!

In fact, not too long ago, Hubby and I were talking one night about moms, and I said I had very clear images in my mind that came up every time I thought about my mom loving me.

The most vivid happened when I was eight.

I wasn’t feeling well at school, so the nurse called my mom to come pick me up. She came, and I told her my stomach hurt and that I thought I would be sick. When we got home I laid down on the couch in our family room.

Now, the family room is about the furthest away you can get from a bathroom in my parents house, and my mom told me I should go be closer to a bathroom if I thought I was going to be sick, but I thought I’d be fine on the couch.

Not so my friends, not so. I suddenly felt the urge to be sick, and even though I ran fast through the living room, entry, and hall into the powder room bath, well, I didn’t quite “make it” on time. In fact, I started being sick about halfway to the bathroom, leaving a nice trail behind me.

I felt bad (obviously because I was sick), but also because I had made a giant, gross mess for my mom to clean up. But, she got me Sprite like she always did when I had been sick, and told me to go lay down. And then she got a bucket, warm water, Lysol and some old towels, got down on her hands and knees, and started cleaning. She didn’t give me a hard time or complain about having to clean up after me, she just took care of it.

And for the rest of my life, when I think of how much my mom loves me, I will think of her, on the floor with a bucket, cleaning up a trail of my vomit.

Thanks mom, for cleaning up my messes, and teaching me to clean up my own and help others with theirs.

Just a 20-something girl living on the East Coast, trying to figure out life. I'm a wife and mom to two. I'm trying to rediscover my love for long walks, yoga and pilates. But not hiking. I still don't like hills. I was raised at the beach, but I don't like the beach. I like to look at it, but I don't like to swim in it, I'd prefer a pool, thanks. I'm just trying to become the best person I can be -- the woman God wants me to be. That's easier said than done!

E-mail Me!

Contact me at longbrakeliving@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you!

Hubby is my all-time favorite guy. A perfect mix of serious, sarcastic, laid-back, handy and nerdy, he is the perfect complement to me. I love his strong work-ethic and the way he always loves and supports me through everything. Some of Hubby's favorite things include: hiking, Virginia Tech football, woodworking, and his family. When I married him in July 2007, I had no idea what an amazing journey we were headed on, and how I could come to love him so much more each day.

Our oldest, Colton, is three years old. He is equal parts sassy and hysterical. He loves all things train, car, bus, truck, and machine related. He has a penchant for made-up words and loves to be the clown of his pre-school class. Our younger son, Nathan, was born this May. He is pure joy and full of smiles! He is such a blessing and a perfect fit for our family.