I’ve heard it from my wife, from friends, and can identify it in myself. Many of the things we have at our very core come from a period in our lives we can hardly remember. Some of my wife’s earliest memories of time spent with family, foods eaten, and music still evoke strong feelings of contentment and happiness. Experiences from the formative years shape who we are and how we feel for the rest of our lives and while the details may be fuzzy the emotions are so deep they can be instantly recalled decades later. So it is, I hope, for Child Harbat as we spend time together. At the beach this weekend I held her in my arms as we waded into the cool water, swooped toward the incoming waves with screams of exhilaration, ran through the ankle-deep flats of receding water, and ate grilled cheese sandwiches dusted with sand. Whether or not she remembers all this is less important to me than the hope that it imprints on her a lifelong memory of love and happiness inexorably connected with visits to the beach. These simple times have been some of my happiest and our day at the beach reminded me not to underestimate the importance of these formative years.
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