Some very close friends visited us last week. We met in Florence and reminisced about our travels and experiences from the past year. As we were leaving the restaurant, my 6-year-old daughter whispered to me that she didn’t remember a lot of the places we were talking about but she knows she was there.
My first reaction was to pull out all the pictures and go down the list of experiences she has had in the past 14 months but I just held her hand as we wandered the cobbled streets of Florence.
It dawned on me as we were walking, that she sat through almost three hours in a restaurant laughing and eating and talking. As I watched her navigate the narrow streets of this ancient city, she looked up as she approached garages, she made eye contact with shop owners and treated them with a sweet buon giorno.
As her brothers reached for a grape at the market, she grabbed their hand and said, “don’t touch the fruit.” As we purchased a few leather journals for gifts she asked how much the bracelets were in Italian. The merchant was so taken with the appreciation of his wares that he snuck one to her as we walked away from the stall.
Traveling is not about recalling every detail and scrapbooking every moment. When Bianca first shared that she couldn’t remember, I thought of writing down every detail for her as proof of all she has accomplished from scaling the Eiffel Tower to Sicilian ropes courses.
As I watched her, I settled in. There is a glow in her wisdom that is illuminated under the Tuscan sun. This journey is not about memories. It is about growth and shifting perspectives and a mindset that is evident and worldly even when the memories fade.
“Mamma Mia,” she exclaimed as it started to rain. I hope I will always remember the moment I learned it was OK to forget.