It was our last day in Spain- our annual family holiday was almost over. Our last hurrah of beach-going and walking along beautifully paved small Spanish villages was coming to an end.
My husband nonchalantly told me he had lost our son's sun hat somewhere along our path as tourists. He quickly moved onto another topic while I instantly felt a wave of sadness and disappointment.
When you are your family's memory keeper, items such as this, dates and times may take on a whole new meaning.
The lost khaki sun hat wasn't just any ordinary sun hat, it was our sun hat.
My three youngest children all wore this hat at some stage. It had been packed and unpacked over and over in different countries and continents as our family created some of our favourite travel memories. The little zipper pocket brought loads of joy as our little ones filled it with small seashells from beaches near and far.
This hat has featured many times in my continuously running catalogue of memories. As the family memory keeper, I'm also firmly situated behind the camera, taking 99% of the pictures in our family memory books. My brain immediately flips to dates, places and even the feelings I had when the hat was captured in pictures before.
I remember our lazy, summer afternoon at a cabin in northern Wisconsin. My two oldest were sitting on a dock learning to fish, said hat shielding my daughter's eyes from the hot sun. Next I'm taken back to the beaches of the Algarve watching my children dig and play in the sand. These memories continue like a flip book in my mind.
"The hat might be lost but the memories aren't," I told myself on that sunny day in Spain. I created the space to be upset, acknowledged how I felt without judgement and reminded myself that hat or no hat, there will be more memories to come as our family grows.