Family and Friendship: How Memories Strengthen Relationships


When I think about my most lasting friendships with family and those to me as close as my family, one thing comes to mind—memories.

Forming memories is one of the building blocks of successful relationships. And since you never know when you'll bond over a specific event, activity, or topic, the key is to spend quality time with the people you love so you have ample opportunities to build memories. For example, like when my mom, sisters, and I went to Disneyland, wore matching shirts, and snapped this pic in the hotel bathroom mirror while we were getting ready (see above).

When I think of fun memories, two words come to mind: Muppets and mini horses. Let me explain.

Family Bonding Over the Muppets

After Thanksgiving dinner last week, my sisters and I piled into the car with our families and headed out for our annual tradition of going to the movies on Thanksgiving day. We had been waiting for months to see The Muppets. Who am I kidding? We couldn't wait at all! We were dying in anticipation of reliving childhood memories of Miss Piggy and Kermie. And we weren't disappointed.

As children, we watched The Muppet Show each week. We also saw Kermie on Sesame Street. We watched the release of the first The Muppet Movie on the big screen and the others on DVD. We wore out our tape of The Muppet Movie soundtrack and knew the words to every song. We've even been known to dance around the house, falling over laughing, as we listened to them in our older years. Image six adults dancing to the Muppet Movie soundtrack. Kind of embarrassing, right? But that's what memories do. They bring out the kid in you and make you giddy at the thought.

The new movie The Muppets did not disappoint. It had lots of flashbacks to the 80s, including awesome music and a reference to my then favorite actress, Molly Ringwald.

My sisters and I laughed out loud throughout the movie. But, no part struck us as funny as when Walter did his whistling act. Our mom is a non-stop whistler. And, when Walter started whistling, we all erupted in laughter. It was too perfect! (Laughing now as I write this!)

Reliving memories was the perfect ending to a perfect Thanksgiving, reminding me of how grateful I am to have such an awesome family.

How Friendship Formed Over Mini Horses

What I love about memories is that they can help form new relationships.

This past summer, my family took a family vacay to Branson, Missouri. We went to Dolly Parton's The Dixie Stampede and saw some mini horses race. It was all of our first time seeing a mini horse. My 8 year-old son thought they were hilarious and couldn't stop laughing for an hour after seeing them.

For whatever reason, I brought up the experience on a drive into the city with Cynthia from Nap Warden—who we had just met—and Jen and Jill from the Mom It Forward team. Cynthia quickly informed us that her mom raises and shows mini horses. She went on to explain that some are used as seeing eye ponies. I immediately texted Troy. His response? He texted image after image of seeing eye ponies wearing sneakers no less so they wouldn't slip. By that point, we were crying we were laughing so hard.

I'm still trying to figure out how Jen, Jill, and I can get ourselves back to Chicago to road trip to Cynthia's mom's house to meet her mini horses.

It sounds ridiculous—similar to why Walter whistling would make us double over in laughter—but that's how memories are. Sometimes they only make sense to the people who share them.

What memories are you making with the people you love the most? What can you do to create memories to strengthen your closest family and friend relationships?

Picture courtesy of Flickr.
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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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