Do you ever reflect on how much your childhood has shaped who you are today? I was having a conversation with a friend this week and the topic of reading as a kid came up. I shared how much being around books and reading was encouraged in our house and realized that this has hugely impacted why it’s so important to me today.
On Friday nights when I was younger, my Mom delegated the meal prep to Dad. Which meant we had pizza. (Sorry Dad if you’re reading this, but we both know you’re not the best cook. You are great at making sandwiches and picking up pizza though!) So, because Dad was in charge of food, we always had pizza on Friday nights. I remember the exact pizza place it came from and while the building is no longer a pizza shop, I can remember exactly what it looked like inside. The ceilings were a little low. I was shorter than the counter. There were those wooden booths in funky colors like bright orange and the smell of deliciously cheesy pizza and cheesesteaks was always in the air.
I would go with Dad to pick up the pizza and we would head home and eat with the family. After dinner, we would often head out often go to my favorite place… the BOOK STORE! Back then, Borders was still in business and was our go to spot until they closed. Mom would grab her coffee at the cafe, and my brother and I would race off to the kid’s section to get our hands on the next must have books from our lists.
There was usually a “guideline” with how many books we could get, because if my brother and I would have had it our way, we’d leave with the whole store. Depending on our ages, we were limited to a certain number of books. When we were quite young, it was 1 book, and then 2, and then made its way up to 3 or sometimes 4 (if we were REALLY lucky, or really annoying in bugging Mom and Dad). We were only allowed to get paperback books back then, and I remember being so impatient as I waited for the books I wanted at the time to be printed in paperback. Making the choice of which books to get during the visit was always so hard. But once the choice was made, leaving the store with new books in hand was a highlight of the week. Of course we couldn’t wait until we got home to start reading them, so we made sure we had our book lights handy in the back pocket of the seats of the car so we could get a head start on reading on the way home.
Friday nights as a kid are something I remember so distinctly. I can smell the pizza from the little corner shop in Manheim, and can remember exactly where I’d plop myself on the floor outside the kid’s section to grab my next reads. I remember what the Borders cafe looked like down to the types of tables and chairs they had, and how the menu was laid out. It may just be that I have some type of photographic memory, but I even remember when the first Harry Potter books came out, and how they had them stacked at Midnight when my mom took my brother and I to get our pre ordered copies.
Even though the bookstore and pizza shop transitioned into other businesses, my parents still kept up the tradition. We went from Borders to Barnes & Noble and from the tiny pizza place in Manheim to V&S subs on the Fruitville Pike. The place we got our pizza or our books didn’t matter as much to us, it was the rhythm that my parents had created on Friday nights that we enjoyed.
Friday nights are some of the fondest and most joyful memories I had as a kid and ya know what? My parents made them happen. At that time, I have no idea if it was intentional, but it mattered to me then and it still does now. Do I still celebrate Friday nights with pizza as an adult? You bet. Do I still LOVE to go in an actual bookstore and stock up on the newest hardbacks (or paperbacks) and can’t wait to get home to read them? You bet.
I know this may seem small, but I want to encourage you to consider what types of moments you’re creating for those closest to you. What’s the impact you’re making through the traditions or rhythms you have with your family or friends?
Do you have specific rhythms you do with your kids like a Sunday pancake breakfast or Taco Tuesday? Do you celebrate the end of the week with a dance party on Saturday night in the kitchen? What about the end of the school year or the marking period. How do you celebrate those?
What about with your friends? Do you get together and celebrate things like Christmas in July? Or Friendsgiving? Or one of your friends finally getting their littlest potty trained? Or a friend’s great week at work?
You don’t have to celebrate just the big flashy moments. Yes, those are worth celebrating, but what about the small ones? Do you celebrate a week of waking up early each day? Or your pup graduating from obedience school? Or your husband on his 100th day of work at his new job? Or a week of your kiddo not wetting the bed? Or writing your first draft of a speech or a book or a blog post?
How do you create moments of impact by celebrating what would be easy to skip over or forget? How can you turn the everyday moments into memories that last a lifetime?