Remember those priceless moment commercials? They went something like this:
Tickets for a family to go to a waterpark: $84.00
Nachos and lemonade at the waterpark: $27.00
A new swimsuit for the child who’d outgrown his: $20.00
Sunscreen for the waterpark: $11.00
Memories from a day of sparkle-filled moments with the family: Priceless
Then, they’d show photos of a smiling family, or a kid, at a waterpark. The kid with a GoPro on his head, where he’d shown a funny video, before.
They’d show an airshow, or a beach or whatever, blissful and content, bellies and hearts full of beautiful priceless moments.
Sometimes, those moments happen in a grocery store, in the frozen food isle, captured on video for all eternity.
Remember those priceless commercials? I mention them because tonight’s sentence for Finish the Sentence Friday is “What’s priceless about…” and those commercials are what swim through my head. Those, and visions of waterparks, apparently, although that may be my eight-year-old’s fault.
On Beautiful and Painful Priceless Moments
Me: “Hey buddy, you know how there are some things we can buy that make us happy? Like Nerf guns and plane tickets to the beach?”
“Yeah…” he replied.
“Well,” I said, “There are some things that make us just as happy – probably happier, even – than the ones we can buy.”
“Okay,” he said.
“What’s something we can’t buy with money that makes you really happy?”
“What should I say?” he asked.
“Whatever comes to your mind,” I said.
“A house with a waterpark in the backyard,” he said.
“But a house with a waterpark in the backyard is something we can buy.”
“No, mom. It’s not. We don’t have enough dollars, and you wouldn’t let me use my college money so that’s why I said it,” he said.
“Fair enough,” I said, thinking how disappointed this kid is going to be once he’s old enough to know what “his” college money actually amounts to.
What’s priceless about life is that we get just one chance to live it, one chance to react in the moment, and too many other chances to remember, and re-enact both.
We’re all familiar with priceless moments, maybe because one of the credit card companies used to remind us on network television about them regularly. I’m an easy cryer and often teared up at those commercials.
But there is something to priceless moments, right? To having them?
When I think about the moments that may flash through my mind at death, if that really happens (and I hope it does), there are many.
They’re moments impossible to purchase, even for the wealthiest among us. Other moments couldn’t be sold for the world, but remain priceless to us because of their import. Sometimes, priceless moments change us because they’re painful.
Other times, we remember smiling, accidentally, because we feel like we’re flying because it’s June, or because we’re on a Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios, or feeling like we’re part of a collective me, too. We think about our proudest moments.
Others are more elusive, and we only remember the feeling.
Anyway, when it comes to priceless moments, and remembering them, the following are a few of mine.
Laughing until I could hardly breathe with friends one night, after sharing remembered stories, some of which were tragic at the time, but gained hilarity in hindsight, or maybe the fact that we remembered together was what made us laugh.
The night I knocked on a the door of a hotel room in San Francisco to meet my biological mother and sister. That it was awesome rather than awful, as it could have been either. Two days later, we took our shoes off in the street to compare toes, after me living a life of looking at the toes of women, wondering whether they were related to me, at pools and waterparks.
Walking away from one and finding another, and then another again who was the one I’d end up building a life with. Creating new life with.
Creating new life. Meeting Tucker, for the first time. Look at how wrinkly his arms were!!! OMG, if that’s not priceless… well. Anyway, I continue, because there are more. But those arms?? LOOK AT THOSE ARMS!
Meeting Tucker again, each day, and each year. Him, finding words, and himself while I find new words too. Words like special needs, different, and endurance.
Finding myself as a mom, at 40.
When my youngest brother huddled next to me, asking whether our mom was crying, or laughing, and me lying to him, because he was eight years old. Getting through the next months and years, and being mostly fine, instead of and because of the rest of it. Learning what having a sibling means, in the best ways even though for most moments, you want to pummel them. Steal their desserts.
Researching dogs, not to replace the last, best dog in the world, who was my keeper of secrets, but because you feel guilty that your son is (for the most part) an only child, and you want him to grow up with a buddy, and know that dogs are the very best keepers of secrets and adventures.
Getting to the other side of a scary time, even though you didn’t see it as scary back then. Reckless, maybe, but not scary. Like hanging out in a graveyard, in New Orleans.
Test results that aren’t awesome, but aren’t deadly, either.
On Beautiful and Painful Priceless Moments
When it comes to them, we remember all of them.
A little boy’s persistence, and him learning at eight years old to pronounce the sound “r” for the first time, sometimes. When he tries, anyway.
The word “Girls” still sounds like “gowows,” the word “really” is still “weawwly,” but every now and again, if he tries super hard, “right” is “rrrright!” rather than white. And that’s priceless enough for me.
Check him out. He’s amazing.
He’s also totally annoyed with me for interupting his Mine Craft time, and he’s had way more candy than is acceptable for anybody, any day. But also? He’s going to tell you two jokes. And he’s awesome and fabulous (and a little bit terrible at the jokes and in getting on board with me recording him in general) in every way (in my opinion).
I actually hate his last joke but his friends have laughed at it, and that’s been enough for him. We’re all a work in progress, I know.
I’m a work in progress, and hope for more priceless moments to remind me of what really matters.