It’s hard to believe right now while our kids are still small, but one day they will be grown up and they’ll be looking back on their childhoods, reflecting and remembering. Certain things will stand out to them, certain things that were important or intense or simply memorable. What will they remember?
We all carry with us certain memories that stand out, both good and bad, plus an overall sense of what the entire experience was all about. While I remember being denied the chance to go to a much-looked-forward-to basketball game because I failed to do my paper route that day, I also remember rainy Sunday afternoons in front of the livingroom fireplace, wishing my yet-undone homework would go away. I remember trips to the zoo and raking leaves and sitting at lonely dinner tables staring at a bowl of cold congealed peas.
As a parent I vowed that my kids would remember different things from my kid-memories. Good things. We all want that.
But mixed with the good are the moments we wish we could take away. Yelling. Hasty decisions. Being hurried. Reflecting like this isn’t an reason for self-chastisement, but it’s never too late to start crafting our kids’ memories, filling in with things we want them to take into their adulthood. We all do this. Every family has its own unique and wonderful language of ritual and rhythm, things that everyone takes meaning from.
I want my kids to remember the singing. And the awesome school lunches. And our nightly family dinners, everyone laughing around the dinner table.
But mostly I want them to remember Story Time.
Words are my lifeblood, and the love of them is something I want to pass on. Every night has Story Time. Eric passes out on one side of my bed while Nathaniel lowers his lanky body onto the sheepskin rug at the foot of my bed to listen to the night’s installment. Serena arranges a zoo full of stuffed animals around her on the other side of my bed. We read adventures, fantasies, stories of love and hope and excitement. Finding a good book that engages us for days and weeks is a major undertaking, a major accomplishment. It’s my favorite part of parenthood, and it’s what I want my kids to take with them.
What will your kids remember?