Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happiest Moments of our Lives (Ramble warning)

In Real Simple magazine this month, the authors suggest that we might not know as much about those close to us as we think, and that this type of history should be written down. Questions to ask family include how parents met, where they grew up, what they did for fun, etc.

One question to which I was surprised not to know the answer is "What were the best times of your parents' (or family members') lives?" I honestly have no idea what the answer would be. I would guess that it was the blissful four years between when my parents had me and when they had Eve. =D Haha. Kidding! Mom and Dad, unless you want me spreading this rumor, you will have to think about and answer that question for me, please.

It also got me thinking about the happiest times in my life. It is a really hard question to quantify. I had some wonderfully happy months, days, moments...what is the length of the happiest time considered? Guessing that it is an extended period, these would be my answers (in order from oldest to most recent)
* Freshman year of college
* Backpacking through Europe in college for three months
* Senior year of college after getting my job at Fusion in February
* My second year in Atlanta

I've been thinking all day what was the singular most happy moment of my life. There are certain times in my life that I can remember feeling my heart filling so much I thought it would burst. They still have the same effect today:
* Surprising my family on Thanksgiving by returning home the first year I was in Atlanta...everything went right that day, from flying standby on an earlier flight, to Eve getting me at the Logan Express terminal, to getting my parents flowers, to seeing the happiness on their faces when I surprised them, to eating, to sleeping in my childhood bedroom with the window open to feel the crisp New England air
* Running through Boston screaming "The Red Sox won the World Series!" until getting to Fanueil Hall and feeling the energy there
* Watching the Braves Fourth of July game in 2000 with friends
* Camping with friends in South Carolina when Kellie and I could not stop giggling
* Reading my acceptance letter from Dartmouth

Then there are the memories of times so happy their memory and longing to return to that time can hurt:
* Radio saying that in Atlanta I was "The center of the universe" when it came to socializing
* My arrival on Grayton Beach after driving through Alabama in the middle of the night and my subsequent 8am swim

And, of course, the happiest I have ever been for another person:
* When Eve told me Jeff proposed to her

Then there are the happiest moments tempered by sadness, those memories that are wonderful but we were too young to remember accurately, and more. However, I should probably end this blog entry soon =) (Of course, now that it's published, I keep remembering more stuff...I'll probably have to write a follow-up entry)

My friend Kellie filmed an interview with her grandparents so she would always have their images and voices to share with family. I know her grandfather has Alzheimer's now, so his memory is not as clear, and these tapes are therefore quite valuable. My dad also did a similar capture for me, making a videotape of interviews with my friends from high school as a graduation gift for me. Even if people are still around you, there are moments in time that, if not captured, can fade or be altered in your memory.

I think I need to get a video camera.


Mane the Mean said...

The more you look at pictures/videos of your past, the less you remember the parts of the past you have no pictures/videos of. It is strange and for this reason I am not sure whether I would like to have video of my late father. I do not have and will not have, of course, but I do not really miss one.

J.P Sartre has some lenghty discussion about the relationship among past, pictures, and memory in his "Nausea". I find Sartre's discussion very valuable and interesting.

Eve said...

you made a hormonal pregnant lady cry:)... great blog ilana!

Pia said...

Even when not pregnant and not having any clue about your past, you made my eyes wet too. I started thinking about my dad and what might have been the happiest moment of his life. I have no idea what it was. And now it's been almost 3 months that I can't ask him that question anymore. I will never know.