I don't know what I'd do without them. Even though they're painful sometimes, they make us remember how wonderful life can be. Memories have a way of motivating us to push harder for what we want.
Yesterday I remembered quite a few things.
I remember my great-grandfather. I remember how he always used to sneak into the kitchen with me to give me strawberry wafer cookies when I wasn't supposed to be eating until dinner. I remember that he always gave the best hugs. I remember the way his eyes would twinkle when found something funny, or when he was happy. He was always so full of life. I remember him as a truly beautiful person. I remember that at his funeral I cried harder than I'd ever cried before. I think losing him made the concept of death real to me. And I miss him. I really do.
I remember my cousins. All of them. I remember the way when we were younger we had a special kind of bond, a love we were born with that will never be erased, though it will never hold the same strength it did when we were all young and niave. I remember the way we would play together, all of us happy and carefree. Hiding behind trees and in dark rooms trying to scare one another. Make believe adventures to places filled with monsters we'd slay together. All of the girls gossiping at Christmas... I think the way I picture them in my mind will always be the way I thought of them as children, no matter what happens in the future. I wonder if they'll think of me in the same way.
I remember high school lunches and the way we laughed until our sides ached with it. It was such a good feeling. We hardly ever had time to eat... I remember the way it felt when we'd walk down the hallways: like we belonged, and like we could do anything...the world was ours then.
I remember the moment I realized I loved Kyle. It was terrifying and exciting and beautiful and awful all at once. I remember the absolute joy of the day he told me he loved me too. I remember the hard times and the way they made us stronger. I remember the way we never seemed to want to leave each other...the way we'd drive or walk around until early in the morning just talking, laughing.
I miss so many things, and I can't wait to see what else is in store. I hope I never forget how wonderful the little things in life are: Sharing a popsicle with your best friend. Being held while you cry. Running through the trees. Giving sloppy manicures to tiny fingers. Playing dress up. Witnessing a flock of birds rise into the sky. Twirling in someone's arms. Making prank phone calls with your best friends. Keeping a secret. Spinning in circles until you fall over from being so dizzy. Picking flowers. Acting like you don't want to be in the family photo...when we all know that everyone wants to be included. Running for the last roll at Thanksgiving. Stacking gifts under the Christmas tree. Baking peanut butter cookies. The bittersweet feeling of a goodnight kiss. Making wishes on dandilion petals in the breeze. Watching the sunrise. The feeling after a rollercoaster when you realize that you braved it.
Those moments are what make life worth living.