This Memorial Day, while honoring those who gave their lives serving in the armed forces, add those loved ones you’ve lost along life’s path and remember them. Then take it one step further and honor the memory of your parents, living or passed, and the sacrifices they made to rear you (and your siblings).

Remember your dad teaching you to ride a bike. Yeah, he might have yelled a little at first, but it’s only because he was just as scared as you were when he let go the first time. Because he knew it wouldn’t be the only time he’d have to let go of you. Letting kids go (grow up) is the hardest part of being a parent.

Remember when mom would kiss your boo-boos, smile and say, “All better!” It still hurt, but mom was so sure it would be ‘all better’ you felt somewhat relieved. Although, when it was a really big boo-boo she’d rock you softly, cooing ‘shhhhhh’ until you stopped crying. Moms always find a way.

Then remember when everyone teased you in school. Except that one kid who smiled at you. That smile spoke volumes even if it was a whole week before they actually said a word to you. Becoming instant friends, their friendship helped you through a very awkward phase of your life.

Also, remember the teacher in school who believed in you and gave you the courage to pursue your passion. Challenging you to always do your best, while encouraging you to dream. Their sincere faith in you drove you to try harder. And if you failed or should I have said ‘when’ you failed, you learned to pick yourself up, dust yourself off…and try again.

Remember college. Sure, maybe we shouldn’t go there, but it was the first time you really started to feel like a grown-up. Yes, you whined and fussed but eventually you had to get yourself up each day. Make your own breakfast. Do your own laundry. Which brings to mind…pink tighty-whities! Ah yes, everyone’s had an episode of laundry malfunction at least once in their life. Thus, we share your embarrassment. Yet, through it all you came out the other side a better version of yourself. And you’ve never owned another pair of red socks. Touché!

Then came love. Remember all the reasons you fell in love with your other half. The way they whisper your name. The way their skin smells after a shower. The way they look at you when they don’t think you notice. Remember all the silly things that made you giggle like teenagers. Love does that…remember.

Which reminds me…I had the occasion to visit friends over the weekend I hadn’t seen in a while. They seemed upset (with each other) over weeds in the yard. I offered a compromise… “Dandelions have bright yellow smiling faces you should learn to relax and appreciate.” Then I gently reminded them to, “Rip their heads off before they go to seed!” Plus, dandelions are one of the most nutritionally dense greens we can eat. However, my point is, also remember what love is and what it is not.

So, while we remember our fallen soldiers this weekend and those still committed to active service, also, remember all those who fought for you along the way, to encourage, inspire, teach, mentor, support and transform your life in amazing ways. They are heroes too.

Can you imagine…being grateful for the memories!

Smile, you’re the best!

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