My husband, daughter, and I went to Stew Leonard’s not too long ago. As we walked around, memories crept up as I started thinking about the times we had been there as a family over the years.
Purchasing a Beanie Baby for my daughter became a tradition. We never left the store without buying one. Recollections of my (now college-aged) son shimmying to the Chiquita Banana song, admiring the train near the cash registers, and running away from Elsie the Cow. We spent time at the petting zoo and lunched at the Burger Barn. Our trips to Stew’s lasted many, many hours back then!
To think that trips to a supermarket have created incredible memories for our family. Those nostalgic feelings ran me over like a mack truck!
My children are just about 18 and 15 and have lived in Westchester County their whole lives. It dawned on me that these memories, such as the ones in Stew Leonard’s, pop up all over the county. Ironically, we’ve traveled across the country as a family, yet many of our best times have been right here in Westchester. Not planned, nor expected, and right here at home.
As we traipse through this beautiful county, our family experiences are abundant, and a trip down memory lane pops up when you least expect it. Many places around the county have special memories for us.
My husband and I often went to the Kensico Dam after we got hitched and moved to Westchester County. Relaxing in the sun on a beautiful summer day or tackling my numerous attempts to become a runner. Yet, what I recall most are those times we’d been there as a family. Our yearly trips for the Fourth of July fireworks were enjoyable. The playground was their fave. We couldn’t try another playground without hearing how they liked Kensico better. Of course, that was before my son broke his arm, but even with that, Kensico Dam will forever be a dear place for us.
Bagels and More in Hartsdale is another one. I don’t believe it’s the same owners, but that place was my second home on maternity leave in late 2004 and 2007. My winter babies and I used to walk down the street in the dead of winter; oh, the looks I would get! Nonetheless, I needed that walk down the block, a cup of coffee, and something yummy on a bagel to keep my sanity. My husband and I have headed back there on occasion, most recently after a doctor’s appointment. Hard to believe how much has passed since my daily trips there; however, the warm feelings still exist. It’s amazing what could hold a special place in your heart.
And don’t judge me – even a quick visit to our local 7-11 results in a bit of pining! The annual Free Slurpee Day was always a winner. As a tradition, we headed over after day camp on July 11th for our freebies. It feels like yesterday!
Why am I sharing this? Because often we plan and plan and plan – and then plan some more – only to realize that some of the most memorable events truly happen when it’s least expected. And usually, it’s when you’re living your everyday life.
Sounds silly, right? There are plenty of places in this beautiful county of ours to make memories, but a bagel shop? And 7-11? Trust me! You may never know if and when a moment may become a treasured memory. And when reminded, you could be a tad blind-sighted by the emotions that follow. Emotions can be beautiful. Emotions can be sad. But also weird. Yes, emotions can be SO weird!
Remember, you might create favorite family moments when you’re headed to the mall or the local diner. However, you may not realize how meaningful until years later when you enter a venue and get slammed with pangs of sentimental and reminiscent feelings.
It’s surreal that most of the days of raising kids are behind me. Making memories with my sweet littles is in the past! Slightly sad, but I can find beauty in it too. It is a privilege to have warm thoughts about where you live and raise your kids. To have access to the places where we’ve had these moments continues to make my heart quite happy.
It may not be munching on samples at a supermarket or a local playground, but lots more memories to be made! They’ll be different but remarkably special. And not surprisingly, it will be when and where we least expect it right here in Westchester.