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The best family memories are often not-so-perfect momentsWhat are your fondest family memories? If you were to sit down around the table to reminisce with family or close friends, what is the first story you would tell? I bet it would be a story filled with chaos and mishaps. Why? Because our best stories and fondest memories are often forged from not-so-perfect moments.

Not-So-Perfect Moments

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Some of my family’s favorite stories and inside jokes come from a stopover we made in Hawaii on one of our trips home from Asia. Now, one might think that they would center on the beautiful scenery or the gorgeous weather, but no. We love to reminisce about our trip to the Dole pineapple plantation.

The best family memories are often not-so-perfect moments, family vacation, family relationships

There, we took a 20 minute tram ride to see fields of black soil, because all of the pineapples had been harvested the week before. The story gets even funnier when we get to the part where our tram ride through fields of dirt was fully narrated and accompanied by Hawaiian music! We laugh and laugh when retelling the story, but at the time it was less than impressive.

Actually, on that same stop, my daughter and I developed one of our most enduring inside jokes. While browsing theThe Best Family Memories Are Often Not-So-Perfect Moments gift shop, she noticed that I was the only mom there who was actually wearing a full t-shirt instead of a tank top over a swimsuit; and there were A LOT of people there. Since then, she has pointed out with a smile, “You’re not wearing the Mom uniform!”

We had another planes, trains and automobiles experience years ago in Thailand. Whenever we are around our good friends for any length of time we still laugh about that day. In the context of one vacation, we had to abandon our travel plans because of a storm. Then, we disembarked the train in the pitch black with our young kids and suitcases in tow. Finally, we ended up sleeping, seven-dwarfs style, in a room with nine beds lined up side-to-side and a splash bath. Absolutely nothing went as planned, but we had a blast because we were all in it together.

The Best Memories Are Seldom Perfect

Our favorite, most cherished family memories are seldom the ones where everything goes perfectly.

I think they stay in the forefront of our memories because we experience them, flaws and all, together.

We are all keenly aware that real life is full of imperfections. We want to make things just right for our kids and we want to give them everything they ever thought they wanted. But ultimately, what they want most from us is our time and our attention.

Oh, and it should be mentioned that our kids don’t always know what they need or want. It’s up to the parent, with the fully developed frontal lobe that controls judgement and insight, to decide what family experiences to engage in.

Whether or not everything goes exactly as we planned, in the end it is the time spent together, the good and mostly the bad, that they will remember and bring up years in the future.

It’s never too late to get out there and make some family memories.

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Shellie (1)



  1. Pamela Smith says:

    Vacations always seem to have the best memories! There always seems to be something funny or something that goes wrong. It may not seem funny at the time, but it is when you look back on it. We have had tears running down our faces from laughing so hard. That is what it is all about!!!

    • shelliebowdoin21@gmail.com says:

      Absolutely, we live on those memories long after the event has come and gone…especially us mamas!

  2. Michele says:

    Hi Shellie, nice to meet you. This is a great article and it is so true! We have many laughs about a family vacation to Virginia one spring. It was freezing cold and we were the only ones on the beach, wrapped up in blankets. After a trip to Williamsburg, the kids revolted, refusing to eat any more “old”
    (meaning historic) food!

    • shelliebowdoin21@gmail.com says:

      Haha, isn’t that great?! Thanks for stopping by Michele.

  3. We find fun in the little things, too. Luckily, no big mishaps. Our favorite was seeing all the valets at a hotel getting out of a Ford Focus. It looked like a clown car. It’s a joke that is still running 10 yrs later.

    • shelliebowdoin21@gmail.com says:

      Aren’t those inside jokes fun?…and they never get old.

  4. Kathleen says:

    What you say is so true. A blogger was just saying the same thing as they were frustrated with family vacation mishaps. That when they look back it will probably make the best memories.
    Thanks so much for sharing this post on Fridays Blog Booster Party #19

  5. whenever our “kids” get together with the cousins at family Christmas events, all the stories are about the mischief they got up to while their aunt and I obliviously drank coffee together. I think the stories get embroidered a little more each year – but that’s part of the fun! Loved your post ~ Leanne

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