I cherish memories the most.
I was thinking a lot tonight and started bringing memories into my head that made me tear up with joyful tears. I lost my Papa (grandfather) when I was 19. It was one of the hardest things to go through and a long grieving process. One thing that got me through every day was the memories I had with him.
I remember when I was little he would pick me and my brother, Josh, up from our house and take us for the weekend. Our weekends would be filled with small building projects, tree climbing, fishing, and running on the many acres him and my Nana had. When running in and out of the pecan trees I would always hear him call from the back door, “Ashlee! Do you have your shoes on?” “Yes Sir!” I would reply. He would always shake his head and ask me, “then why are they sitting here by the back door?”
He was an amazing welder and carpenter and I remember the many swings he built for us along with the teeter totter, bench swing (my mom still has sitting in her front yard), and the unfinished tree house sitting in the tree of mine and my brothers choice. He was always thinking of us and that was my biggest memory.
Fishing was our favorite time together. We would bring them home and even at a young age I would help get them ready for his homemade batter. They would be fried out in the backyard while my brother and I sat on that metal bench swing he made by himself. His hush-puppies? Oh, they were the best food I had ever eaten.
At the bottom of the tree that grew behind that bench swing was a bed full of ferns. Every weekend he would send me home with a fern and I would go back the following weekend in tears because the fern died. Once again, he would send me home with another. There was one time I found a baby bird that had fallen out of the nest. I thought, who better to care for it than my Papa! I took it that weekend to him. The following weekend he was so worried to tell me the worse had happened to that baby bird. He knew I would just be heartbroken. Instead, he decided that the little cat that had been in their yard for a week would now be my cat. He always thought of ways to keep my mind off of the bad stuff in life and he would always replace these thoughts with beautiful memories.
I look back on this now and it makes me cherish every memory I ever had with him. It also makes me cherish the memories I have with my kids and keeps me creating more. I first thought I needed to bust my butt and work every job possible to provide for my son and give him everything he wants in life. I quickly realized, the one thing he wanted the most was, me. I now fill my days with coloring, exploring, teaching, and making wonderful memories with my family. I go back to Georgia every chance I get and I always tell my Mema, “I don’t care what we do as long as we are together.”
Memories will always be there to help you through the roughest time, so make them and make them often.