Pause, Reflect & Make Memories: A Message From Our President & CEO

Oscar Wilde said, “Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.”

This quote was especially poignant for me in the last month. For Mother’s Day, my daughter, Cara, sent me a jigsaw puzzle of pictures from the past. The three bottom pictures were of my son and daughter when they were very little, the top right was from my Bat Mitzvah with my parents and grandparents, and the last picture was from my daughter’s wedding in February – two weeks before the COVID-19 shutdown.

As I struggled to put together the 520 small pieces, this puzzle gave me the opportunity to remember those moments in time. I remembered the outfits they wore, Brett’s room in our first apartment in Sarasota thirty-eight years ago, the joy I felt at my Bat Mitzvah and at Cara’s wedding, and my wonderful Bubby and Pop with whom I spent all the Jewish holidays and summers down by the shore.

I’ve talked a lot about reflection in my blog posts, as I’ve spent much time during this crisis thinking about the past and what life was like before COVID. Although it’s only been three months or so, it’s feels like an eternity. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was dancing at my daughter’s wedding and kissing and hugging all the guests who came to celebrate? How has it been only three months since Federation staff members greeted each other in the break room while getting their morning cup of coffee?

Memories from my past have brought a smile to my face and are a comfort, especially now. They were times I was deeply connecting with my loved ones. They are still vivid in my mind, even the ones that were ordinary moments in my day... the walk with my Pop on the boardwalk, the beach days I spent with the kids, going to the Art Museum and lunch with my mom or riding bikes with my brother. They are precious to me.

During this time, I have also been making memories. Who would have thought my son would stay with me for ten and a half weeks? Who would have thought my computer would be my main source of communication? Who would have thought I’d spend an hour and a half on FaceTime walking my daughter through making my rice pudding recipe? Who would have thought we’d have group chats with all the kids?

Connections are vital to me and I appreciate the extra time I have taken to keep them strong, meaningful and alive. We’ve all had to accommodate during this pandemic and it certainly hasn’t been easy. But, I’ve made memories. I’ve taken advantage of the togetherness time I’ve had with Frank, and have been very intentional about keeping in touch with friends and family on a regular basis. I have taken the time to appreciate the everyday things that have often passed me by because I was running somewhere. Never had enough time.

Just imagine what life would be without these precious memories, the magic moments and the awe of experiencing the wonders life has to offer. Pause, reflect, appreciate and make memories.

As Japanese writer Haruki Murakami said, “Memories warm you up from the inside.” Fill yourself up with the beauty that is surrounding you now. Make memories. Build your treasure chest!