Neuroscientists teach us that our brain is made up of 100 billion neurons or nerve cells that communicate with each other by firing across synapses, the connections through which "information" flows. As we grow and develop, experience leaves patterns in the neurons as our brain essentially "wires up" particular neurons through their synapses. Scientists know that if they give an electrical impulse to a pair of neurons, the two will communicate more easily in the future. Repetition and recall similarly provide an impulse, reinforcing the pathways in our minds to make them stronger and easier to access.

Memory, then, is engraved into the brain's synapses, a pattern drawn in the rich sand of neurons.

Still, memory is elusive and difficult to grasp. Of the countless moments in our lives, why do we recall some and not others? The everyday and the exceptional mingle in our recollection of the past. We remember, only in a general way, the daily supper our mother made for us. Meanwhile, every detail of the afternoon she tried to bake a pineapple upside down cake remains intact along with the heavenly taste of the one salvageable slice.

It's only natural to wish to create loving memories with your child as your parents did with you. With the upcoming holiday weekend, you might be wondering which activities would linger longest in your child's mind. But science can't help you on this matter; both types of experiences - the everyday and the exceptional - matter to a child. Being with you is what's most important.

Participating in or watching the local Memorial Day Parade is an annual family tradition for many, an exceptional event for others. It's one of many potential ways for you to spend time with your child this holiday weekend. Whether you live in a small town or a large city, the shared experience of a parade will undoubtedly strengthen your family bond.

Only a small question remains: Will it be the cake of your child's memory or the familiar meal?