It should come as no surprise, but a recent study found that time spent together with family and friends, making lasting memories, makes you happier than items that you purchase for yourself, even if they are luxury items. So, next time you find yourself saying, “What would really make me happy right now is a new Prada purse!”, call a friend or grab your kids and go out and do something. You don’t have to spend a lot of money (or any at all) to have a good time with others. You can go for a hike, visit a museum, go to an amusement park, or see a comedy show. Or you could just stage some really fun chicken fights in the pool. Whatever you find fun is good enough. You don’t have to plan it out either; sometimes being spontaneous is part of the memory-making process.
The other night, I had the opportunity to make some memories with my son. We had read in the newspaper that Henry Winkler (The Fonz – Aaaay!) was going to be coming to our area and speaking about the latest installment in his book series for kids. But this isn’t just any book series. This is the series that made my son a reader. You see, up until about 5th grade, getting him to read was like pulling teeth without novocaine. I would beg and plead, but to no avail. Then I discovered “Hank Zipzer”, the 4th grader modeled after Henry Winkler’s youth and struggles in school with dyslexia. My son read the first one and was hooked! Fifteen more books followed, that he quickly devoured. He even re-read all of the books.
I couldn’t wait to go. For me, Henry Winkler is my childhood. Watching “Happy Days” every week, and then again in syndication, was part of growing up. Now my sons get to enjoy his talent on a very different level. But, when Monday night came, two of my three kids bugged out, and the third was on the fence. I was so upset and disappointed. At about 7:10 pm (the thing started at 7:00), my son comes in the office and says, “Aren’t we going?” I jumped out of my chair, grabbed my purse, hopped in the car, and off we went. We entered the room in which he was speaking, mid-way through one of his stories about his kids. We listened to him talk about his children and about his parents and about him getting his big break in Hollywood. We laughed and laughed. Afterwards, we stood in a long line to meet the famous author and actor and get an autograph. I was so proud of my son when he told Mr. Winkler, “You are the reason I became a reader.” Henry’s eyes lit up and you could see that he was really touched. He told my son, “Thank you. That makes me feel so good to hear that.” As for me, well, I was just beaming from ear to ear.