As the typical first time parents, my husband and I swear up and down things we will and will not do. Sometimes it holds true and other times we end up eating our words pretty quickly. It’s a learning curve though, right?
Of all the things we have stuck to, I’m proud of keeping our ‘more experiences, less things’ concept for birthdays, holidays and everything in between. I know we aren’t the first to focus on making memories as a family. My husband and I chat with other parents who are bringing this idea into their own parenting choices. I think it’s a wonderful way to teach a child about being grateful for family.
Part of the reason for staying true to this is because of a car accident we were in last November. Luckily, all parties walked away fine but our whole world was shaken. My hubby and I were driving home with our daughter in the car which made it even scarier. Our car was totaled and looking back at the photos, it’s amazing that no one was seriously injured. This all happened just days before our planned trip to Napa for Thanksgiving.
I remember our entire trip was so much more meaningful. It was a break from what seemed like a rough couple of months with the car accident and my postpartum complications. To say we were thankful that Thanksgiving would be an understatement. We were blessed to be alive and healthy and together.
Things can’t replace memories. Memories will last a lifetime.
Since then, we have worked really hard to be together, experience the world and do good for others. Instead of gifts for our daughter’s birthday, we asked for diapers as a donation to a women and children’s shelter. Instead of buying Christmas presents for each other, we have signed up to adopt families for Christmas. For our anniversary in December, we are breaking out the winter coats and heading to New York City to experience the magic of the holiday season. But my favorite of all? We took it back to the place where we affirmed our ‘more experiences’ motto: Thanksgiving in Napa.
Napa is in need right now, too. The fires from October took many lives, buildings and means of income for the people who call wine country their home. We are looking forward to seeing familiar faces from last year and contributing to the economic needs of the area so Napa Valley can rebuild and continue to provide a place for others to enjoy memories of their own. I mean, twist my arm here…I’m drinking wine to support one of my favorite places! I call that a win-win or better yet, a wine-win!!!
But what I’m most looking forward to in Napa is time to relax, reset and appreciate the time I have with my family. This year, we will be chasing a toddler around the wineries and watching her giggle as she takes in the beauty around her. I will watch my husband carry her on his shoulders during the annual tree lighting at the hotel. These are the moments that make everything worth it. These experiences and memories fuel my soul and remind me how important it is to be thankful.
These are the moments that make everything worth it.
When I look back on life, I don’t want to have a house full of things. I want to have cherished memories of my family, pictures of experiences that took my breath away and a warm heart from trying to give back when I could. I want a life that’s been well lived.