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What will your kids remember about you?

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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?

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10 comments so far...

  • I just realized that they’ll probably remember me sitting at the computer with my back to them…better go.

    Erin  |  September 17th, 2008 at 11:49 am

  • I find that my memories of my own childhood weigh far heavier on the happy side than anything else. I hope my child’s memories do too.

    Robyn  |  September 18th, 2008 at 11:25 am

  • it sounds cliche but i LOVE that in the fall and winter when it was particularly yucky out, my mom would have started baking something so that when we got home from school there were warm cookies or hot chocolate or something waiting for us!

    There were also embarassing/silly moments like her dancing to weird mall music and getting into a perfume sample fight at a drug store!!

    my mother continues to surprise me with her antics - and i LOVE IT! i tend to be a bit of a stickler for following the rules (ironic, no?) so i hope that i can be as much fun with my son and randomly brake the rules :)

    kate  |  September 18th, 2008 at 10:01 pm

  • I must admit this post struck a cord with me. I have such happy memories of my childhood, despite a terrible childhood accident involving my baby sister. She was hit by a car when she was 5 and remains in a wheelchair nearly 30 years later.

    That is really the gift my parents gave me and my siblings. We have memories of family…of fun in the back yard in the pool with my Dad spraying us with the hose, of helping my Dad open and close up the pool every year, of my Mom covering us up on the couch with hot laundry fresh out of the dryer.

    I hope that my two girls have a smile on their face and love in their hearts when they think back on their childhood and their Mom and Dad.

    Christy  |  September 19th, 2008 at 7:48 pm

  • Thanks for posting this site.

    I have mixed memory of my childhood but the last part were happier times and I am trying to give the same to my children.

    Kim  |  September 20th, 2008 at 10:12 am

  • Storytime can save the world. This single, working mom of a son and daughter loved storytime as much as my children loved it. They read to my grandchildren and they will tell them, “Have Granny Annie read you this story because she reads it so well.” So, I read it to the grandchildren and they thank me but tell me that Mom/Dad reads it better. That doesn’t hurt my feelings, it makes me proud.

    Granny Annie  |  September 20th, 2008 at 12:42 pm

  • You know, I often think about this same thing. My oldest will push just the right buttons and I’ll yell. I immediately think, “this will be what he remembers. Not the vacations, not the laughter, he’ll remember this moment”. For every one bad we have 30 good. I’m gonna have to take him to disney world…

    Julie maloney  |  September 20th, 2008 at 12:59 pm

  • Very good blog!

    I must say I thought about it recently, too.
    I am always in a hurry, and I have a 9 yo whom I often have not enough time for. Three years ago I was in nursing school which consumed most of my time, and then I reminded my son that once the school is finished, we will have more time for each other. But even now, it is not so.

    I think the solution to this is to MAKE TIME FOR OUR KIDS, because tomorrow they will be all grown up, and it will be too late.


    arlene88  |  September 21st, 2008 at 1:44 pm

  • I love this post. There are times when my whole family is together that I talk about some happier memories and then all my family pitches in their memories. It is litterally a walk down memory lane but we love it. My most fondest memory is that every Sunday night we would go to my grandmother’s for dinner and then watch the Sunday night Disney movie on TV. It was such a simpler time and much more relaxed. I hope my kids can get a chance to have those types of memories too…

    Lisa  |  September 22nd, 2008 at 8:09 am

  • I remember my Mom being the greatest cook-always cooking and baking something.
    Besides talented-knew how to sew,knit &
    crochet among others. To me I’ll always remember her being the greatest. My Dad worked alot and not home as much-it was really Mom that raised us. The most important- is that I was loved and knew that I was. She was a fair, loving Mother.
    I have children from are 34 down to age 16.
    The most important thing I want them to remember is how much I always loved them.
    My youngest I tell more stories to-because I won’t be their for her as long as her sisters.
    They all in one way or another developed theirs Mothers sense of humor.Good or bad-they have it.

    eileenb  |  October 28th, 2008 at 3:13 pm