TW and I are on vacation right now. We bandied about a wide range of locations, from Oregon to England, but finally settled on Boston. This will be our first real vacation, not associated with major family holidays, weddings, or other people. We’ve only done one day but the joy of leaving our lives on hold for a little while and just being together is fantastic.
The choice of Boston brings a hidden peril. I have family outside the city and have spent many summers there. We decided to spend a couple days on the Cape and then a couple in town. In both cases, she is adamant on one rule: we are not recreating my childhood. This is a problem. I had a wonderful time here. From the ages of 9-13, I spent my time here eating ice cream, playing in the ocean, shooting water rockets (they work best with club soda), and enjoying life. That was a new and powerful feeling that it took me a long time to learn how to capture. Looking back on that time, it is first moments I can remember feeling truly happy.
But that was almost 20 years ago. The town has changed. I’ve changed. But what I want more than anything is to capture that feeling with TW. I want her to feel the same happiness this places holds for me. But I don’t know how to do it without recreating my childhood. That’s not fair to her or anyone else. I can’t force my memories and my experiences on someone else and assume the same results. Instead, I have to make new ones. That alone is a scary idea. What if they’re not as good
When we return to the places that hold meaningful memories, what do we do? When we make new memories, how do we keep the old from bleeding onto the new? Do we acknowledge the ghost hiding around the corners? Do we welcome them along with us on new adventures? Or do we smile and pass them by, foolishly hoping that they will always be here waiting for us to return?