Preparing to close the book on 2015

Preparing to close the book on 2015

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There we are at the Baseball Hall of Fame. And, look, remember that time mom ran into Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard on the street and got a selfie with him. Speaking of selfies, how about that one of our nephew who ran into Celtics’ basketball player David Lee in Boston?

Yes, every year, we produce countless photographic memories, capturing the moment. Those pictures may be worth a thousand words — and more.

I’m talking about our other senses. We have this incredible evolutionary gift that enables us to experience our lives, to appreciate and understand what’s happening now beyond just seeing a video, or flipping or clicking through a photo album.

At some point we’ve all lost someone we love. We can look at pictures, visit their graves and listen to their favorite songs. But the experience, at least for me, of remembering how they spoke or what they said breathes life into that memory.

Despite growing up in Manhattan, my Aunt Maxine developed a Jimmy Durante way of speaking. “Hey, you!” she’d shout at me from across the room. “Did yah remembuh? It’s my boithday soon and ya gotta get me a cake and a watch.”

Shorter than most adults, Aunt Maxine, who died several years ago, was so much more than her small frame. Yes, she flooded the airwaves at times with a deep voice that could seem like a jackhammer. And yet she could charm a Mona Lisa-type smile out of the most hesitant of audiences. My first thought is not of her stature, but the gift of her humor and of the back scratches she shared with her small, soft hands.

As we prepare to close the book on 2015, it’s worth going beyond the pictures of experiences, victories, defeats and challenging moments to celebrate our senses.

I recently attended a holiday party where a couple described in savory details the taste of a seven-fish stew they eat every year at Christmas. A relative who died long ago used to make it for their family. Not only do they appreciate the flavor, but they also use the taste to reconnect with their ancestors who left Italy long ago.

When we look at that picture of ourselves at a baseball game, we can and should remember the sun that peaked through the clouds, warming the backs of our necks. Even if we don’t eat the hot dogs, we can bask in the connection between that smell and those times we sat high in the seats at a baseball stadium, waiting for the hot dog vendor to place those warm meals wrapped in napkins in our mitts, which we refused to remove in case a foul ball came our way.

When we see that picture of our daughter in the dress she bought for a party, let’s allow the squeal she let out when she found the perfect outfit to echo in our minds. If you’re lucky and your daughter shares an excited sound, does a triumphant dance or expresses a joy that resonates throughout her body, you know how those movements or sounds make you feel. It’s probably something akin to how mother penguins, who have left their young for days on end to hunt for fish, react when they return to the familiar call of their young.

Or, maybe, we’ll take a moment to relive the way we bent over double, laughing with our wives and kids, about something ridiculous we said just before we got out of the car. Wonderful as the pictures of each year are, they’re the tip of the sensory iceberg of the experiences we shared in 2015.