The little moments

If I were an archeologist excavating the depths of my mind to try and discover that one rare, precious Thanksgiving memory, then I could truly say I found it.

On Thanksgiving Day 2003 I lay curled up in a twin size bed as the alluring scents of oven-roasted turkey, freshly baked apple pie and crispy stuffing awoke me from my childish slumber.

As I placed my size three feet into a pair of fuzzy pink slippers and grabbed my blue hemmed blanket that I simply couldn’t live without, I stomped down the stairs to the kitchen where my mother stood slaving over a large silver pan of cranberry sauce. My father sat by a freshly made fire reading the newspaper and the noise of my brothers’ outdoor endeavors drifted through the sturdy glass windows to my ears.

Although I cannot remember the rest of that blissful Thanksgiving Day, I can still feel the complete and utter contentment that ensued that moment.

For some innate reason the only memories I have are of these small, seemingly insignificant pieces of time.

For instance, I cannot recall the entire first day of kindergarten, but only one moment where I sat on the floor of my North Mianus Elementary school classroom looking wide eyed at the girls and boys around me. I remember my fingers clenching the polyester carpet, really scared for the first time in my young life.

This enigma of how my mind works frustrates me at times as I wonder why I can only remember these small specks of time. Maybe it is my thirst for knowledge that leads to this conflict of my brain’s capacity versus my desire to know everything there is to know.

Or maybe my brain just wants to remember all of the little moments that touch my heart. The moments of sitting with my family on Christmas morning, hot chocolate in hand, blanket wrapped around my shoulders and excitement growing in my chest.

These memories I cling to are the only ones that truly matter, which is perhaps why they will linger for years to come.

Spending time with your family, laughing with your friends or curling up next to the family pet (in my case an adorable 68-pound, nine-year-old golden retriever) are the moments that truly matter in life and are the moments I want to hang on to.

But unfortunately, as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that life involves sacrificing these memories for other moments society deems “more important.”

For example, I might have to sacrifice a dinner of heated discussion and laughter with my family in order to participate in a varsity sports team and study for the tests I have the next day. And in these moments of sacrifice, I’m losing the memories I want to look back on just as I do for Thanksgiving Day 2003. I want that feeling of nostalgic gratification.

So this holiday season, as the stress of Thanksgiving cooking chores or the dauntless task of Christmas shopping attempt to dwindle your holiday spirit, take a second to experience the little moments in life, because they won’t last forever.

The little moments of playing fetch with your dog or watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas on a snowy December morning with your loved ones.

Because, just as my grandfather once said, “Life is about creating memories. So make them good and make them last.”

Katherine Nail is a junior at Convent of the Sacred Heart.

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