Monday, April 26, 2010

Costco, tamales and a happy memory

Today I bought some tamales at Costco. Now with how behind I am on this here blog, you may be asking yourself, "Valeri, why in heaven's name are you blogging about tamales at Costco?" Well, I'll tell you. As I threw them in the cart, other shoppers busily passing by, C & R whining in the front of the cart because, "he pulled my hair" and, "I didn't get enough of that last sample", and, "now I want out of the cart all together... actually, I don't", and so on and so forth, I had a distinct moment of nostalgia. And for that short moment, the hustle and bustle, the whining and grunting all disappeared, and I suddenly found myself re-living an old memory.

Now I'm a pretty sentimental person. I'm also a horrible journal keeper, which is the main reason I started this blog two and a half years ago! As I've grown into my adult years (that sounds so weird) and become a mother (that sounds even weirder), I've grown to love my parents on a whole new level. I've grown to appreciate the friends and counselors they were to me, the patience they found within themselves to hang onto me, their desire to see me succeed and fulfill my hopes and dreams, and most of all, the memories that were built from the many experiences we had as a family. With how busy life is, it's sometimes difficult to remember certain past times, or at least to find the time to sit and ponder them. So often I just feel like I'm racing to get to the next thing, and I don't really stop and appreciate moments from the past that are still dear to me. I decided a while back that I needed to be better about writing things down, not just about the kids' milestones and current happenings, but memories of the past - special, significant things that maybe aren't so important, but might make my children smile when they read about them in years to come. Not that this moment of nostalgia I had in the middle of Costco today will change Chloe and Ryan's lives forever, but it's still a happy memory that I'd like them to know.

So onto this memory I keep talking about! I've really built it up, haven't I?

Growing up in Vacaville, and within walking distance of downtown, we often took advantage of the local Farmers' Market, which was held every Saturday morning in Spring and Summer. We didn't go every Saturday, but a fair amount. I remember my mom coming here and there, but it was mostly my dad and me that made the trek. It wasn't a far walk from our house, and the process of getting there was scenic and wonderful. We'd walk down Buck Avenue and admire all the old mansions and the large blossoming trees. We'd breathe in the fresh morning air and, as always, enjoy good conversation. Sometimes we'd pick up fresh fruits and vegetables. Sometimes we would buy a bouquet of flowers to surprise my mom. Sometimes we'd just walk there to walk there, because it was that pleasant. But virtually always, we'd purchase a dozen homemade tamales and take them home for lunch. These tamales were so amazing, so authentic, and so perfect in every way - a real treat for us all!

So after that lengthy introduction, you may now be asking yourself, "Seriously? That's it? All that, for a memory of buying/eating tamales as a kid?" Perhaps the reason such a simple memory brought such warmth to my heart earlier today is because I don't get to see my parents as often as I'd like. I don't have the luxury of taking a walk around the block with my dad whenever I please. Maybe it's because I sometimes miss my hometown. Goodness knows it's been years since I spent any time there, and nearly a decade since I was there with my family. Maybe it's because in my adulthood, I look back at my childhood and appreciate how simple and easy it really was in comparison to the stresses and responsibilities I face nowadays. It's probably a little bit of all those things. But I think what it really comes down to is this! When all is said and done, the things we remember in our lives - the things that bring us joy, the things that bring warmth to our hearts and remind us that we are loved and that we are fortunate, are the simple things. Your delighted child, anxiously handing you a flower with no stem that she picked in the yard. A surprise visitor. Laughter over an inside joke that only you and the other person will ever understand. Your child's first smile.

Even though taking a walk with my dad and eating some tamales isn't that big of a deal, the memory of it, and even the memories surrounding that memory brings immediate warmth to my soul. No matter how sentimental we are, and no matter how amazing or terrible our memories might be, there has to be something we can each look back on, remember well, and smile about. I hope that, as my parents did, I am helping my own children build simple memories that they will look back on years from now, feel happy about, and want to share with their own children.


Mama/Gma Jill said...

Well....I have some sweet tears dripping onto my robe just now. What a beautiful story! I'm so glad you took the time to explain all of that. What a wonderful treat.
Such a simple act - throwing tamales into your shopping cart - but what tender thoughts accompanied it. I could so easily climb right into that memory: see you and Dad disappearing down the street, or coming home, flowers in tow (thanks again!)....and, of course, fresh tamales. How we all loved them! And interestingly, recently David, and even more recently Heather brought fresh tamales to us, freshly made. Oh how we enjoyed them! And now comes your tamale story. I can hardly wait for Dad to read this.

You're so right about the simple things. Those are they that make up the fabric of our lives....the joyful moments that when re-lived bring them all back again. That's why Dad thanks Heavenly Father every day for the gift of memories.

This post, like so many, is a treasure. Thank you oh-so-very much. And someday those same two precious beings, C & R, will love reading about this memory, and all the others you've written down too.

I don't think I could love you more.....
Love love love,
Mama/Gma Jill

Mamamanya said...

Valeri, that was great. I felt as though you were writing my thoughts as well as I read....good old Vacaville....I still love walking down Buck Avenue, going to the Farmer's Market, and ohhhhh the Tamales!!! I LOVED those tamales...we used to get them quite often when we visited the FM. Thanks for sharing this sweet memory. The simple things in our lives really are the things that make us most happy :) LOVE YOU!!!! Have a wonderful day :)

Jaimee said...

Simply amazing post! Loved it!! Thanks for sharing!!

Bre said...

what a thoughtful post.

Twinkies said...

I could totally picture the walk down buck ave. I loved looking at those old house. I never got tired of that street. I was just remembering the other day all your birthdays you had at the pool and how fun they were. Can we all go to the pool again for your birthday this year?

How were the costco tamales?

Valeri said...

Thanks guys! Mika - I'd love to have my birthday party at Glenbrook this summer! Wouldn't it be so fun to have some kind of reunion there with all us gals and our babies?

I'd give the Costco tamales a 7 out of 10. They were good, but nothing like the Farmers' Market tamales (of course)! :)