Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Pickle, A Baguette and An Old Piece of Cheese

When our children were small we had dreamed of one day being able to take them to Disney World. It was a 'someday dream'. We knew other families who were able to take their children but unfortunately we were never able to financially. Being a mother, I always wondered if our kids resented our inability to do the fancy vacations for them that so many families are able to do for their children, and a recent conversation with our daughter assured me that there was no resentment, only memories and those are the best things you can have.

Alannah was recalling our regular Saturday trips to the St. John City Market. We lived outside of the city of St. John, N.B. for only a year but the memories that we built there will last forever. On most Saturdays we would drive into St. John and head straight for the historical market. It is an open market which has been there since the 1800`s and we all enjoyed the history of the place and the various vendors. The kids loved walking on the cobblestones and seeing an actual butcher and fishmonger. There were craftspeople with their wares displayed and colours and sights and sounds that all went together to make up the experience of the Market.

There was one vendor who really stood out to us. It was a  man and his wife who were from Lebanon. They made the best food! They offered samples to everyone but when they saw us, as a family shopping together, the man said to us: "come sit, you eat, I talk". We always bought something from him not only because he was so friendly but because his food was so good. The market was full of foods from different parts of the world and while it wasn't Disney, it did give our children a wonderful cultural experience.

Before we left the market each of our children had to have their favourite item to take home. Alannah would always get an enormous dill pickle. It was more like a medium sized cucumber. She loved it! Next Matthew would get a 2 foot long baguette smothered in garlic butter from the French ladies in the bakery. And a trip to the market wouldn't be the same without Benjamin going to the cheese man for his piece of extra old cheddar cheese.

You might not think that a pickle, a baguette or an old piece of cheese would even warrant a memory but they do. Maybe you have regrets of things that you had wished to do for your children and were never able to do, let me assure you that your children probably have simple memories too, that have become more important to them than anything. But it is essential that as parents we purposely build memories. Look for opportunities to do things with your kids. They might not be big, grand adventures like Disney World, but your kids will cherish the things you do with them for years to come.

If you would like to see the Market check out:

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