This is my column for this week. Despite the fact that it is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, I still had my Monday morning deadline. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in Canada and Good Day to the rest of the world:
“You never really know the true value of a moment, until it becomes a memory”. – SpongeBob
Who knew that such wise words would come from a cartoon character—one that my youngest son, Tyler, tells me is “one of the most famous ever” and does his owners (Nickelodeon) proud in that it makes them millions. For those of you not familiar with SpongeBob Squarepants you obviously did not have kids of a certain age. He was popular at my house about twelve years ago—as he was my youngest son’s prelude to walking out the door to school.
I know, I know, he probably should not have been watching television while having his breakfast, but that ship has sailed. I was once “one of those kind of moms”—the kind who would not let her kids play video games, the kind who made them healthy snacks, packed lunches that had no garbage so they could be part of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” crowd at school, made sure they watched non-violent TV (though I don’t think SpongeBob was particularly violent), and dressed them preppy-like. I fell off the “crazy mom” wagon eventually, but according to my 22 year old son, not soon enough.
Anyway, back to the premise of this column which are the wise words of that colourful talking sea sponge. I know that his creator penned the words, but how bad can a cartoon be if these are the types of little gems that drop from the character’s mouth? Are these not the kind of things we want our kids to be exposed to? Here is another exchange that while funny is also heart-warming: Patrick Star (Spongebob’s starfish friend) says: “Knowledge can never replace friendship. I prefer to be an idiot”. And SpongeBob’s response: “You’re not just an idiot Patrick, you’re also my pal.” While kids would think this was comical, they would also be getting a lovely, if droll message about friendship: you accept your friends despite their flaws.
“You never really know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory” is on the surface a seemingly charming sentiment, but delving shallowly below that surface it really means that we tend not to enjoy the moment we are in. We savour our memories but should realize that the moment is just as enchanting when it happens as when we look back on it. I tend to forget this and live through the moments rather than in them.
As I write this I am fondly remembering the Thanksgiving meal we had yesterday—but in order to make it possible a lot of work went into the process. As I am by no means a domestic goddess (which after speaking to a few people who have read this column, comes through loud and clear) I tried to enjoy the preparation of the meal instead of just the end result. I convinced myself (and it took some convincing) that all the fuss and bother, cooking and cleaning were worth it, because I was doing it for the people I love. And magically, it worked. The turkey was particularly succulent, the roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes were perfection themselves, the gravy was silky, and the dessert–wonderful pies (which I cannot take the accolades for) were made more magnificent by the purchase of salted caramel ice cream which complemented them exquisitely—and was my contribution.
Why did I enjoy the meal so much? Not because I created it—but because the people I made it for were highly appreciative. They raved a little bit (knowing their sister, wife, and mom was not a natural cook), and I basked in the moment. I appreciate the memory today, but I really did know “the true value of the moment” while it was being lived.
And when I got up this morning—I lived in the moment again—I had pumpkin pie for breakfast!
Side notes: SpongeBob was created in 1999 by marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg and voiced by Tom Kenney.