My Sweet Little Fishy,
My favorite memories from childhood were visits to “the lake.” My grandma’s boss had a lake house and sometimes we would go there and he would let us ride on the speedboat and let me drive.
And then there was my daycare. I literally had the coolest daycare on earth. We went to Six Flags, we went to other local theme parks, we went to the movies, the skating rink. Heck, my daycare had an on-site swimming pool! I’m completely serious. We had a pool. At the daycare center.
The coolest thing by far, though, was the owner of the daycare had a large cruiser (boat) and a SeaDoo, and every Monday during the summer he would take our school age class to Lake Lanier. We would ride on the boat, swim, grill hot dogs, and my favorite part… he’d take us on the SeaDoo and let us drive it!
Since then, “the lake” has always been my ideal retreat to escape the challenges of the world.
Fast forward to high school (for me) and I dated a girl named Jennifer. I say dated but I don’t know if you can even call it that. I was 15 I think because I remember my mom driving us around places.
Anyway, I may have mentioned this before, but her parents were separated and I remember her talking about how much she loved time with her dad at a little restaurant they would go to. It was a consistent weekly event in her life and she always talked about how much she cherished that time with her dad. The love she showed for her dad always stuck out to me as how a daughter should feel about their dad and I’ve always hoped I’d be able to create that for you.
Fast forward to adulthood and another friend, Dayna, told me about a similar scenario with her dad. I quote:
“When I visited my dad as a kid, he took me to Baskin Robbins every Sunday before taking me back to my mom. I always had an upside down ice cream cone decorated to look like a clown. One of my favorite childhood memories. I still send him one every once in a while.“
So what does that have to do with today’s letter?
Well, a few things. First, you don’t know it yet, but I just moved to Dallas (where you currently live with your mom) from Atlanta. You have no idea that I’ve moved here to be closer to you yet and I can’t wait to tell you!
Second, today I went exploring the local lake and marina specifically to find ways to create intentional “lake memories” for you as you grow up. And I found just the perfect thing!
I won’t be buying boat right away, but there is a family friendly indoor/outdoor dock restaurant that serves pancakes, so I’m thinking maybe every Sunday morning we can wake up and go have pancakes for breakfast on the lake and then meet with some of your friends and their parents and rent a boat to go tubing, skiing, or wakeboarding! Cook some hot dogs! The works!
I already know from spending time with Lauren’s family at their lake house in Georgia that you love being on a boat, and you definitely love leaping into the water, so I know you’ll love boating with your friends and I think we’ll be able to have lots of fun just enjoying our time together.
These are the intentional memories I want to create from you and as you grow up, I encourage you to paying attention to the memories you make and the memories your friends share with you. You’ll learn the little things their parents did that they cherish and when you have kids of your own, you’ll have that many more ideas of how to fill their childhood with joy and laughter and fun they will hold on to forever.
Trust me. It’s worth it.
In the blink of an eye you’ve gone from a tiny little newborn to a 6 year old full of your own ideas. I know all too well that our time on earth is limited, and I hope I am able to intentionally make your time at “the lake” one of a lifelong cherished memory for you.
P.S. If you are reading this letter as a visitor to Start With A Dollar, please share one of your cherished childhood memories in the comments below!
P.P.S. A doctor told his patient, “There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is you have partial short-term memory loss.”
“Oh no, Doctor. What’s the bad news?”
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What I great way to want to make memories with your daughter! Remembering the good times together will always be with your child for the rest of their lives! I remember those times at dinner with my father every week and it was so much fun! My dad was always the fun guy and I’m sure you’ll be to yours as well!
I remember determinedly climbing up a little pine tree in our backyard on a Saturday afternoon. “Somebody go get Dad! I made it to the top!” He came out with a video camera and proudly recorded my achievement. “She’s all the way at the top, level with the roof of the house!” Who knows where that tape is, but I still remember how happy I was that we were proud together, sharing the moment together. Today, I try to show genuine interest and excitement when my kids bring me their treasures and accomplishments, no matter how insignificant they might seem to someone else. I want them to know how proud I am of their victories.