I remember rolling my eyes at the, “Remember to write it all down” warnings I got from everyone from the clerk at Lowe’s to relatives-by-marriage. I now understand that it’s true and even though I know that to my core, I also know that no one will ever listen to me say it. There will be eye rolling and insult, but never the, “You know, she’s probably right.” I wish I’d listened, knowing that I’ve let memories slip through the cracks, I’m sure I’ll find them again, unprompted, but it isn’t the same.

We’re just back from a whirlwind trip to Seattle and Yakima. A truly incredible visit seeing all the family we wanted and having the girls respond perfectly to everyone! I don’t want the memories to slip away, don’t want to forget the hilarity of Avery saying sternly to Grandma, “Grandma, this isn’t a circus!”

I want to be able to conjure the breathy wonder of Briar as she gaped at the spectacle out of our window the first night in the hotel:

“I don’t know what that is, but I think it’s magic!”

I want to remember how it felt to sit with my sister, just like before, sprawled beside the fire, only this time having my baby with us. The feeling of having given my girls sisters, next-generation Abbies.

To have the girls and Grandma together.

To revisit a track almost 20 years since competing and lining up with my family, a baby strapped to my chest, my husband and sister beside me, Steve playing along, Maddie nosing in, Avery hamming it up and my sweet Briar taking it so seriously.

Or the girls stealing the spotlight and sharing a cherished part of my past.

Watching with delight as Avery tried golfing. On an unexpected slope.

Laughing hysterically as loving shots with Grandpa sparked similarities to hostage shots…remember that time we met up at Starbucks and gathered against that concrete wall? And the spots that looked like bullet holes?

Then finding the sweet light with Grandma. And the food!

The narcotic effect of papa.

Then again, maybe it was something in the water.

I didn’t write down every sweet thing the girls said or manage to capture every moment on film, but I did catch some. I’m hoping that what I did chronicle will bleed every so often into the other memories, the moments we shared off camera— the magic of dreams coming true.