Recently Frido and I started to notice how much Satchi recollects and shares stories from her memory... These are little everyday things and also some big events in her life... sometimes things I don't even remember... she mentions them and those moments surprise us with a realization that her memory is starting to be programmed and archived in her universe.
So when Satchi and I got on the early morning flight to Detroit with so much excitement and anticipation, I knew that the following 10 days would be something she would remember.
Throughout the week in Michigan... I watched her catch fireflies in a little glass jar with a proud smile, opened her heart for fireworks that shot all around us along the lake shore (even though she thought she would be scared of the loud explosive noise), walked on the ever slightly shaking boat dock with confident steps, learned how to look for fish patiently with her uncle Kent, flew her made shift kite, discovered how to skip rocks over the water... and so much more.
As I watched her embrace quintessential Michigan summer moments, I felt myself de-stressing… all the things that were tangled up in my mind slowly melted away with the wash of the lake waves on my feet... I wasn't rushed to go anywhere. I was mostly away from my laptop but I used my Instagram feed to capture some of the moments with spontaneous snapshots and in-the-moment captions. Here is how my thoughts evolved over one week's time.
"To the lake! To the lake! We will be spending a week at my friend's cottage house on the lake!! Michigan life at its best:) "
"So happy to be spending the day with@theotherkennedycompound and friends:) happy 4th of July!"
"Satchi told me that the firework was the best part of yesterday... "
"Finally found a phone reception to check in with@fridolinbeisert and Coco !! Another sunny day continues in Michigan lake."
"The day is long..., everyone is free to be kids..., and there is abundance of space to just be..."
"Nothing like... #bk_summermemories"
"gone fishing. "
"A long afternoon and being okay being bored... "
"Water fills my soul..."
"How much she has grown from this trip... "
"Cloudy and rainy day is quite okay too... "
"when wind quiets down and all you hear is the whispers of waves."
"This is how you look for the fish, mama. "
"Just swam in the calmest lake water... It was freezing cold but never felt better..."
"When heaven touches the earth..."
"Last day... last swim... feeling very alive. "
"Good bye cottage. You have been good to us..."
First few days... I was pretty exhausted from my pre-travel rush. All I wanted to do was to sit back and watch Satchi play and take occasional naps. Then around the 3rd and 4th days I felt that something shifted in me. I started running around with Satchi on the beach splashing water. I got into reading a book that Susan let me borrow. Then the turning point came when I wanted to swim in the lake when the water became very still. Okay... so the lake was VERY cold even in July and I have never done very well with cold. I avoided swimming in a cold water for years because of how uncomfortable it made me feel but deep inside... I always wondered how it might feel to float on calm water surrounded by nothingness. So when wind died and lake became still, I asked Satchi if she wanted to swim with me and so we did. When we first jumped in, my heart skipped some beats because it was so cold. I panicked and thought of running back to the beach but told myself to calm down and start breathing normal. Then it became okay to be in the water. My skin was stinging from coldness but my heartbeat went back to more less normal and I didn't feel the adrenalin rush anymore. I was swimming... and felt so small surrounded by so much water, so much openness. We were in the water for 10 minutes at the most. When I came out of the lake with Satchi, we were shivering and I was bursting out with so much emotion... laughing. She looked at me with a surprise face. Then she was laughing with me. That's when I realized that she probably had never seen me this alive... alive in the moment and I hoped that she would keep the memory from the moment somewhere in her memory drawer.
These memories can't be made by canned experiences that are all set up to be pretty. We have to be there and we have to be real.
*[Memories] tie your past with your present, and provide a framework for the future. In a profound way, it is our collective set of memories -- our "memory" as a whole -- that makes us who we are."
As I project forward for Satchi and Coco and their summer memories that they will someday retrieve as a way to frame their lives, I hope for their memory drawers to be filled with heart filling laughter, a sense of adventure, and in-the-moment sensorial explosions.
I know that I will remember these days in Michigan with Satchi and our friends... and from now on Satchi will always connect the special memory from the lake cottage with our summer memories.
*"How Human Memory Works" by Richard C. Mohs, PhD