First 30 Days Blog

28 feb

Memories at the Speed of Life

JayForteMy oldest daughter is getting married in May. The preparation has been both all consuming but well organized and really without much worry. This will be a great day. Two great families are coming to celebrate the connection of the next generation. They love our daughter; we love their son. All is good.

I know I am not the first to go through this, even in my family. But I find myself going through a new round of emotions and thoughts as I get ready to pass the baton again. Let me explain.

When the kids graduate from high school, we talk about the ceremonial “passing of the baton” – passing the reins of life over to its real owner. We say, “We have done everything we can think of to show you how big the world is and to help you know yourself well enough to know your place in the world. It is time for you to take the baton and run – to do the things you are called to do and to own every aspect of your life. We move from center stage to stage right – and you move to center stage. This is your life and we want it to be extraordinary. That is now your choice.”

They take the “baton” and first wobble. But soon they find their legs and learn to navigate their lives. Some decisions are good, some not so good. But that is what is involved in being human. We coach from the side – we realize the true owner of the life is now in charge.

But now I face the second passing of the “baton.” The last name that my daughter has carried for 23 years – our last name – will now be passed to make room for a new name. And this is right – this is the new partnership. She moves from one family to create a new one. She again is moving through life. I know that as I pass this baton – my daughter and her life – I am passing it to someone who willingly and completely accepts it. My daughter and her husband will learn to walk, run and dance together as they build their life and their memories.

I was reminded of all this as I looked at the wedding invitation. I was struck not only by the concept of having a son-in-law (who we think the world of), but that just a day or so ago – or so it seemed – this little girl was in kindergarten, in plays, riding bikes and playing with Barbie. Life is a blur as it moves in large blocks of time – pulled by kids activities, school and work. Memories at the speed of life.

I remember very specific events about each day in her life and am now flabbergasted that these events were as distant as 20 years. The bruises, cuts and scrapes; the bruised hearts and trials of dating. The sports, homework and drama of high school. The parties with cousins, families and friends. The driver’s license, new freedom and going away to college. The introduction to a serious boyfriend who is now a fiancé, and the first check needed for the reception! All of it. Memories at the speed of life.

For perspective I looked to my dad – and how he managed my movement through life and those of my five siblings. He still remembers so many of our lives’ events. He shows us pictures of when we were young – pictures we feel should be burned – but pictures that freeze in time a look, an event, an expression…a feeling. He smiles as his tired eyes look at them. They are treasures. I don’t know how often he looks at them but based on his expression, I imagine it is often. Memories at the speed of life.

Memories create the threads that are woven into the tapestries that are our lives. Some tapestries are rich, filled with colors, textures and of great size. Others are smaller and less vivid. Our choice.

Thinking about my daughter’s upcoming wedding reminds me to keep my tapestry growing, expanding and adding more color. Weave your tapestry by:

  1. Slowing life down to really notice who and what is around you; notice everything; choose to be present.
  2. Creating time each week to “memory-build;” share stories, go to places, take pictures, do the unexpected.
  3. Creating a “memory box.” Collect pictures, objects, writings, etc. and save them in the box. Once a week, have family members take out one of the objects at random and tell what they remember about it.
  4. Creating your “family thing.” Ours was we told progressive stories in the car. Each child would add to a story started by the parents, or had to provide a sound effect on cue during a story. What could be your “family thing?”

Memories at the speed of life – they fuel our emotions, they feed our souls.

My eldest daughter: a child, a teenager, an adult, and soon a wife. The time sure flew by. But I remember every stage – I have a tapestry of her life, and those of her two sisters. And when I think of this I have the same smile and tired eyes I see in my dad. I think I know what he feels. And it is a great thing.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He is working on his new book, Work Strong, Live Stronger. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at

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Posted by Jay Forte on February 28th, 2010 in Family, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Teens, Things We Love | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

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  • Good story, great perspective!

    — Added by flbeachboi on February 28th, 2010
  • [...] dad wrote this beautiful, heartfelt post about watching her grow up and living her own life. I definitely found myself choking up, thinking [...]

    — Added by Sharing something sweet « Little Miss Ramble on March 4th, 2010

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