Reimagining memories to make ourselves look better is common amongst most folks. We all want to be seen in the best possible light at all times. Sharing stories with people of our successes or romance that seem borderline improbable is commonplace. But hey, at least we look good in our own minds and in the eyes of others, right?
I share many memories and ideas here in my blog and on various social media platforms. Sometimes they are a bit exaggerated. Sometimes not. There are times that I add or take away a detail from my stories that make for better storytelling. Let me give you a recent example of such a story I told my children.
Yesterday, driving the kids home from school, Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” came on the radio. So I asked my oldest, who was sitting in the front seat, what the significance of this song was in my life. She said she was unsure. But from the back seat, my middle child piped up and she said that the song is from my wedding day. And she was correct. It was the song that was played at the reception as my wife and I walked into the room for “the first time” as husband and wife. I then explained to the kids the deep meaning behind why we chose the song.
How the singer is talking about sitting for a coffee- something my wife and I did regularly when we first started dating. And how the lyrics continue to speak about reading the paper at the diner- another activity my wife and I shared as we would do crossword puzzles together and read our horoscopes. Finally, the line about “Listening to bells of the cathedral…” corresponded with the ringing of the bell in the church as our wedding ceremony ended that day. I told my children that lots of time and thought were put into which song signified our love at the time. The song ended and they seemed impressed by what they just learned about mom and dad.
But what I told my children was a lie.
“Tom’s Diner” was played at our reception as we walked in as husband and wife for the first time. Yes, the fact about my wife and I going for coffees and read the newspaper together was true. But the reason for choosing the song was a lie. We chose the song the day before because we completely forgot to choose an entrance song. The part about the bells in the cathedral? I forgot that that was even in the song.
It was the first song suggested to us by the DJ. My wife and I figured, why not. It sounds neat at the beginning with the “Duh-duh-duh-da. Duh-duh-duh-da.” That was it. Nothing romantic or significant about the song. In fact, that was probably the first time I had heard it in the presence of my wife. The story I told to my children sounds more romantic and borderline fairytale.
No, my life isn’t picture perfect. Far from it. I do really enjoy making my life seem grand- even if I am “Making It Up As I Go.”