Some of the best memories I have are from when I was growing up. When you think of the “good old days,” most of the time, you are thinking back to when you were a kid. Childhood memories, can be so special, because they help form the foundation of who we are as adults. They affect our parenting style and give us inspiration for what we do with our own kids. I remember when my dad built us a sandbox in the back yard. He must have just completed it as the sun was going down, because I remember him bringing me out in the dark to sit on the corner bench and check it out. I remember going worm hunting in the front yard so we could have bait to go fishing. I remember my mom sitting up with me in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and making me honey and milk, and my dad reading us stories in our bed at night. I remember holidays and vacations and being the “trailblazer” on family hikes.
You never know what's going to stick
I want my kids to have good memories too. My son is at the age now when his brain has the ability to form permanent memories. There are always going to be things we remember that aren’t that great. We all have things from the past that we’d rather forget. As parents though, we can be deliberate in trying to plant good memories throughout our kid’s childhoods. It’s the good memories that they will hold on to for the rest of their lives.
Last Christmas, I made cookies with my precious 5 year old little boy. He even helped me make the dough. (We ended up doing this for Easter too.) Standing on his Cars stool, he helped add each ingredient in turn. Of course the best part was the electric mixer. It’s like a power tool for cookie making! Despite my best efforts to contain the rate of sprinkle egression he still managed to empty a WHOLE container of red sprinkles on one sheet of cookies. He also ate, yes ATE, half the bottle of star sprinkles. It’s one of the three foods that he will actually swallow, so I allowed it. He’d been so excited to make the cookies for days, and he had a blast.
We live in Colorado and 99% of the time it snows, its dry snow. Very dry snow. Not very contusive to making snowmen or anything for that matter. But one of the things my son likes to do is to go outside at night, in the dark; it has to be dark, and play in the snow with me.
I get to be a part of something he might have forever
Let me just say, this is NOT my favorite activity. I hate dressing up in winter gear. Especially at the end of the day when I’m tired and worn out. I just want to put the kids to bed so I can curl up on the couch. But I remind myself that it’s a chance to maybe make a memory…and that’s a chance I have to take. I will make the sacrifice to traipse out into the cold and darkness…against my will, because for him, it’s fun. It’s exciting! For me, I get to experience his joy and be a part of something he might have forever.
So I let him make a sprinkle mess even though it means a big clean up. I let him splash in the puddles once in a while, even though it will mean a change of clothes. I play in the snow with him at night, and I stand at the end of the driveway looking like an idiot while we do “fire drills.” Yeah, that’s right.
Maybe someday, when he’s reminiscing, he’ll think about how his mom used to go out and play with him in the snow in the dark, or when we made cookies. At least he’ll remember that we had fun. I want to try to be deliberate in helping him make good memories….I know he won’t remember everything…but you never know what’s going to stick…