Like so many others in today’s world, I lead an extremely busy life. Running here, running there, always being wrapped up in making sure that each and every detail is cared for can make time fly by. Living in the moment can be hard.

Unless you just force yourself.

It’s a little bit like exercise. I am often asked (yes, even as a group fitness instructor), “How do you find the time to work out?”

Or, blogging. “How do you find the time to blog?”

Or, any of my Martha Stewart-meets-Macgyver-style crafting. “How do you find the time to make those?”

I don’t find the time. I make the time.

Living in the moment, even if it’s just for a moment, can provide some great stuff for your long-term memory.

Because I’m somewhat (Somewhat? okay, ha ha) Type A, I find myself often having to demand (to myself) that I “remember this moment”. That might sound a little silly, but for me it has made all the difference. I have many memories of little moments (good and bad) that made a huge impact on me in some way or another, because I actually thought to myself, “I will remember this forever”, as it was happening.

When the younger boy was two, we had just finished saying goodbye to his brother, who got on the school bus. We were walking back down the street to the house, holding hands. I suddenly realized that his little fist was completely enclosed in my hand, and I wondered how much longer it would be like that. As we walked, I focused on the physical feeling of that, smiling because I didn’t know if he felt any safety in it–he didn’t know any different feeling, right?–but knowing that I did. If I concentrate today, even though he’s fourteen, taller than me, and possessing adult-sized hands, I can still feel his chubby, smooth, tightly-fisted toddler hand inside mine.

When the older boy was ten, we went to Six Flags on one of the hottest days of the year. By the time we arrived there, in time for the park’s opening, it was already in the 90’s. We stood in line with thousands of people while we waited to go through their slow security screening. When it was our turn, the older boy told me he didn’t feel good. He didn’t look good either. I suspected he was going to be sick, so as soon as he and I got through security, we left Jim and the younger boy to finish their screening and took off for the restrooms just inside the gate. I was holding his hand, and I was going faster than he could. I felt him starting to lag, and I knew he felt awful. His hand, as I was pulling him towards the restrooms, was going limp. He went from actively holding my hand to just keeping his hand in mine. I felt dread rising up in my body. That horrible feeling was the beginning of a three-day nightmare: he passed out within minutes from heat stroke and was hospitalized, which is a story for another day, but suffice it to say that it’s something I will never forget for as long as I live.

Jim’s hands are strong and gentle at the same time. After all these years, we still walk around holding hands. His hands are a great source of comfort to me; just a little touch as he passes by me does worlds of good for my mood. In fact, we have a little routine which I’m not even sure he’s aware about, but it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Our upstairs bathroom has two sinks. “My” sink is closer to our bedroom door. When I am standing at my sink, brushing my teeth or hair, or getting ready for bed, or whatever, if he walks by me from our room on the way to “his” sink, he runs his hand lightly along my hip. It’s just a little, sort of an absent-minded, automatic touch, but I love it.

So you see? Three powerful memories, three little moments, all about hands. What’s one of your most powerful memories? (hands optional)



  • WeaselMomma

    So what you are saying is that the men in your life are 'all hands'. I better keep a close eye on Eldest Weasel.

  • PJ Mullen

    Things I'll never forget:

    1. The sight of my wife coming down the aisle at our wedding.
    2. The first time I saw my son as the nurse handed him to me.
    3. The pride through the pain I saw in my family's eyes after I delivered my grandfathers eulogy.

  • Meeko Fabulous

    It's a memory of days gone by as my parents have not been together for nearly seventeen years now! I remember walking between my parents into the Alpha Beta grocery store, each one holding one of my little hands. Mom on the right and dad on the left. I remember looking up and feeling safe and loved, but in true 'me' fashion I also remember thinking how freakishly tall they looked! LOL Granted I must have been like 5 or 6 at the time and I was a late bloomer and all . . . oh gee . . . I'm rambling . . . Sorry!

  • Tom

    I know EXACTLY what you mean. I have learned to do that too; "drinking it in." My memory isn't the best, as I've mentioned… but if i take the time to "program it" during a time I want to remember, it'll stick.

    I remember doing that several times when I first took my kids to Disneyland, and I can still feel the warmth of the sun, the scents of the area and the smile on my daughters' faces as we stepped off the monorail and entered the park for their very first visit.

  • LceeL

    Now that you mention it, I can remember each of my sons, as toddlers, with their little hands balled up in a fist and totally encompassed by mine. I can recall that feeling as fully as if it was yesterday and not 20+ years ago for my oldest. And then that makes me remember Harry Chapin and "Cat's in the Cradle" and how I cried when he died.

    Crap. Now I'm depressed.

  • NYC Girl

    Not only have you remember those precious moments after all these years but you made me feel like I was there at each one of them feeling what you are feeling. Only an excellent writer can do that.

    I can tell you I am like that too. I'd have to think and concentrate real hard to describe it in the detail you do but I'm only the person in my family saying< "Remember when we did this…" or " A year ago today we were …" They always tell me how do you remember that…I just do.

  • Smallprint

    Why do you have to make me think?

    Wedding day, vows exchanged, ring placed on my finger – slightly nervous (!) I struggled to get Claire's ring on her finger – aware of the gathered crowd I was so relieved I said, whilst still using my 'projected vow voice' – "there you go" and everybody laughed – we giggled, kissed and then were man and wife!

    It even features hands – what do you know!



  • Otter Thomas

    You have latched on to something. The mind is an incredibly powerful thing. If you can stop and think of something as a moment you want to remember then you can do it because the human brain is amazing. Good for you for taking the time to remember what is important.

  • Bad Momma

    I have a few that spring to mind.

    The day my Mom passed away. 16 years later, I still remember the surreal last moments in her hospital room.

    One of my favorites is napping with my boys when they were babies. Especially outdoors on my "sofa swing". I would just lay there & soak in the sounds, images and smells as well as the sunshine.

  • Dea

    Dang – I'm sitting here sobbing. No wonder we get along – hands are a big memory for me as well. Little baby fists, and toddler-sticky-pats on the face, and how paper thin and dry my grandma's hand was the last time I saw her alive. Hands are such loving things at times. :`)

  • Melisa with one S

    WM: Ha ha, you're very funny! 🙂

    PJ: Wow, those sound like powerful memories. I love the way you phrased the last one.

    Meeko: Ramble away!

    Tom: That's the trick; telling yourself to remember a moment really works. I wish I had learned that lesson ages ago.

    Lou: LOL Uh, sorry. Didn't mean to depress you…At least you still have the song to remind you! 🙂

    Patty: SO GLAD you're back! 🙂 Thanks for the sweet words.

    Smallprint/Mark: haha, I love to make people think! (but sorry. 🙂 ) Great wedding memory. I'm glad that tender moment wasn't followed by some catastrophe, like you passing out or something. I hope you kissed your wife the next time you saw her after typing that memory out!

    Otter: Thanks! I hope you're in practice with doing that too, especially with your little guy!

    Bad Momma: Thanks for sharing those!

    Dea: Stop crying! 🙂 Hands are awesome.

  • Huckdoll

    Oh woman. I loved this – and you for writing this. This post embodies everything I try to do day to day And yes, it works.

  • Karen MEG

    Wow, Melisa, I just loved this post.

    I love the feeling of my little girl's hand grasping mine… and that of my bigger boy who still feels young enough to hold hands with his Mom.

    But it's the hubs hands that do indeed do it to me every time. They're big, and I love how they just envelope mine…from our first date, to now, 23 years later.


    You… are an amazing writer.

  • Michelle

    Oh what great memories — ok, except the one with eldest. Yikes! Glad he recovered!

    My best memories?

    Mister Man's happy dance. I love watching it. Anytime, anywhere.

    Little Miss talking in what sounds like a Boston accent because she doesn't pronounce "r"s let alone, "l"s or "sh"s. And every word gets an extra syllable or two. So cute!

    Reading Sandra Boynton to the wee ones and having them chip in with their own "assigned" parts.

  • Melisa with one S

    Huckdoll: Thanks!

    Sue: Oh yeah, smells! I've got some smelly memories myself. Wait, that doesn't sound right.

    Karen: Muchas gracias! You are an amazing commenter! 🙂

    Michelle: Yeah, that night/week wasn't one of our best. Mister Man has a happy dance? Is there video somewhere? Because I'd love to see it. 🙂

  • Mrs4444

    This is so beautiful, Melisa; I really love it. I feel the same way about Mark’s hands. As we walked into the high school for an event last night, I told him (again) how much I love my hand in his. He always, always pulls the covers up over my shoulders before we go to sleep and often rubs my back a little (unsolicited) before we fall asleep. Ahh…