Tonight was one of those nights I want to remember.
We planned an impromptu dinner with Nan, my uncle and my Dad. Both K and J were home for dinner, as well as J's girlfriend, L, and his best friend, another J.
So we had 2 Js, a K, and an L. Call us alphabet soup.
All the young people ate outside. It was a spectacular night to be outside, a little wind, very little bugs, and peepers chirping away. We could hear their laughter throughout dinner and later, as they lingered over dessert and coffee.
Infectious laughter. Giggly laughter. Manly laughter.
Laughter from people who have their whole lives ahead of them - people who are loving life and enjoying every moment in each other's company. Laughter that makes a momma's heart feel so full, so full it could burst and that laughter would come rushing out of momma herself.
The older folks were talking before dinner about NASA and the space program. The Man is a wee bit interested in anything to do with the space program. You name it and we've got it - books, movies, documentaries. We could be a reference library on space program material.
So the space program was on my mind throughout dinner. We had been talking about all the things to come out of that program, things like Velcro and duct tape, microwaves and calculators. All things that are still a large part of daily life sixty years later.
During dinner, conversation turned around to fruit trees and a peach tree in particular that was right outside our back door when I was growing up. Dad was asking me if I remembered that tree and the large fruit that we had the year we lived in that house. I didn't remember. I did, however, remember the peach ice cream that he made using that fruit. We loved Dad's homemade peach ice cream, rich and so, so creamy with big chunks of peaches swirled throughout. It took forever to make, at least it seemed that way to us kids.
I can still taste that peach ice cream.
When I told Dad I didn't remember the tree, his face fell a little bit. But what I said next caused him to pause while eating his pie.
"I don't remember much from that house, Dad. I was just a little girl. But one thing I do remember is sitting in front of the TV in the middle of the day during the summer and watching a space rocket and the moon."
My dad just stared at me for the longest time. He finally said, "You remember that?"
His voice had an odd lilt to it.
He swallowed hard, like he was holding back something, and said, "I never knew you remembered that. I guess it's never come up. You and your sister were just little girls."
And then he said, "It was a summer day. I sat the two of you in front of the television to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon that day - July 21, 1969. I looked at you two and told you to try and remember this moment. I knew it was going to be important. I think everyone in the whole country was watching that day."
"I never knew you remembered it."
As a parent raising young children, I always wondered what my kids would remember when they were grown and older. I was sad to think they wouldn't remember much of anything, since I wasn't confident that I remembered a lot of my childhood moments. But as I have these conversations with my dad, and my Nan, sometimes the memories come back and it feels real and fresh and sharp and clear - easy to remember.
I'm blogging about them so I don't forget again.
And so I don't forget the look on my dad's face when he found out I remembered something from my childhood.
I think his heart was full tonight too.