Summer is for Making Memories

By Trey Brunson

 I love summer. Some people just gravitate towards a season, mine is most definitely summer. Don’t get me wrong, I love snow, Christmas, sweaters, and all that comes with the colder side of life but as soon as spring begins to open and the weather starts to warm up I just want to get outside as quickly as possible. I actually had the joy of serving as the Jacksonville Christian Surfer chapter director for a short period in my life. Surfing, the beach, cooking out, and especially, the smell of sun tan lotion just makes me smile. I think a large part of that is that summer seems to come loaded with great memories. I remember going to Virginia Beach as a kid with my family and staying in a beach house that some friends owned and racing to the 17th Street Surf Shop. I remember crabbing with good family friends at Nags Head. I remember going up to Emerald Isle with my mom’s family and laughing over meals that went late into the evening. I remember fishing with my grandfather and watching his big hands as he fried fish in his black pot. The tastes… watermelon, lemonade, hotdogs, peach ice cream, etc… I will smell a random smell or eat something randomly and it’s like I am transported back to one of those moments. Perhaps nothing is still more magical than fire flys in the summer.  

 Those memories made my childhood.  As a young adult I traveled almost every summer with my wife and another couple. We would laugh, enjoy an adventure, and give some free marriage counseling off the cuff to each other. Making memories has become even more important now that I have three beautiful kids. I want them to remember the power of summer. I want them to have images locked in their mind for the rest of their lives like I do of my parents pulling the car over in Myrtle Beach and getting out of the car to dance to a song they remembered from high school. I want summer to be just as magical and just as wonderful as it has been for me. I want to develop the habit of using summer to make memories.  

 Making a memory is almost an impossible task and an unavoidable task. How can you ensure that you remember a moment? That seems like a ton of pressure. I’ve totally been there as a parent and a kid when the moment didn’t hit. My parents love to tell the story about the Christmas when “Santa” brought me a bicycle. When I got up and discovered it, I remarked that it wasn’t the “right one” and dad had to help Santa go find the right one ASAP.  There’s a lot of pressure if we feel like we have to make a memory. At the same time, it’s inevitable.  My favorite memories with my family are usually the ones where something went wrong and we have to adjust. I got food poisoning the one time I’ve been to Disney World. I still remember that trip fondly though. My family all went on a cruise together a few years ago and we sailed right into a hurricane and the boat had to turn around and come back. Everyone got sick except for my mom and me during the waves. My mom and I had some awesome dinners together that meant the world to me because we never would have had those meals otherwise. I also got to sit in a hot tub on the back of that cruise ship by myself  watching the beauty of a storm at sea because apparently others were too sick.  You cannot control the production of memories but you can facilitate the possibilities.

 Here are a few ideas to help you make some memories this summer:

 1. Go somewhere fun.

There is nothing like a trip to make some great memories. You can go to the beach, a lake, the mountains, or honestly somewhere near your house that you’ve never been before. The point is not where you go but that you are on an adventure with your family or friends. There are great historical sites, museums, naturally beautiful locations, and tons of gorgeous roads to drive to get to them. Pick somewhere, plan the trip, and get excited!  I love watching parents reveal to their kids that they are going on some adventure like a Disney World trip. Plan things out so that from the sharing of the trip, to the driving to the location, to the meals you eat there, the things you do there, everything can be a chance to make a memory.  My family used to play dominoes in the evenings on our trips and I remember those times more than I do where we were or what we did. Take some games to play. Pack a puzzle to put together. It’s the intentionality with the time and the flexibility in the time that will make the trip a memory.

 2. Do something different.

My boys love it when I get them up on a Saturday morning and tell them to get dressed, we need to go get doughnuts for breakfast!  It’s that spontaneity and that excitement that really creates memories. Doing something different can be as simple as camping out in the backyard, homemade ice cream, or taking a day off just to enjoy the sun. A break in the ordinary, a few hours of laughing, a summer rainstorm turned into a chance to play in the rain are all the makings of a memory. Do something different.

 3. Eat something great.

Food and fellowship are connected. Summer is such a great time in large part because of the food that is connected to the season. Barbeque outside with some friends over. Grill out some burgers or hotdogs. Find a local snow cone stand. Go to a fair and eat a funnel cake, or two.  Summer food is the best!  When my wife and I were first married we lived in an apartment complex that had a sand volleyball court in the middle of the apartments. She would make tacos and we could eat, play volleyball, and then eat some more with friends all summer long. We have friends that still talk about those nights.  You can visit a farmer’s market for fresh fruits and vegetables. You can make some seasonal deserts. If you’re traveling, only eat local and ask them what the local favorite meal is. Good food is as much about the atmosphere and the company as it is what you are consuming. Take some time this summer to eat some good food and make some better memories!

 4. Be around people you love.

Maybe most importantly, spend your summer around the people you love. Has anyone told you recently to call your mother? Well, do it! In fact, call the whole clan. Get together with everyone.  Take your kids to see where you grew up. Get your friends out for a local outdoor movie or concert. Get your community group out to the local baseball game. Get your neighbors for some of those grilled hamburgers and hotdogs. Summer is a time to slow down and enjoy the beautiful gift of relationships. Meet some new people, reconnect with some old friends, and make some memories.  

 Take a trip, do something different, eat some good food and be around people you love.  That sounds like a recipe for a summer to be remembered.  Enjoy every moment.  Get outside and be sure to remember the sun screen.  Summer is here and summer is for making memories.