Reconciling the difference between the happy memories I had and the happy memories my children will have.
When we were growing up, my mom sometimes lamented that we were not getting good childhood memories. We did not have Christmas feasts and go camping like her family had always done. I always wondered what the fuss was. Maybe we didn’t have so many traditions, but we had lots of good memories – all kinds of pets, truck trips, restaurant dates, swimming pool visits, fishing trips etc.
One day after becoming a mother myself, I understood her feelings. My girlies and I heard horses trotting by so we ran to see. As we looked out the window, a pang of sadness came over me. My girls would likely not have my type of happy memories. We live on 300 sq. meters in somewhat urban area. I spent most of my growing up years on larger farms. My girls would probably not get to ride horses often like I did, or have the variety of pets we enjoyed growing up, or play in woods and creeks for hours like I had. At the moment it sure looks like they won’t experience many road trips, or even restaurant meals like we did. It seemed like they would miss out on a happy childhood.
But wait… I did not feel like I missed out on a happy childhood because of not having my mom’s kind of memories. I determined right then to not lament my children’s “losses.” They would not feel it anyway. We were not going to feel sorry for ourselves about the lack of “good memories.”
How we will make good memories.
The more I thought about it, the more I knew my children could have lots of happy childhood memories. They will be a new kind of memories – different from mine, different from my mom’s, different from their dad’s – but happy memories. Their mom will help make memories – happy, joyful, ones – for them.
I also want to establish family traditions. It might have to be totally new ones, but traditions do help tie the years together. We might have things on a much lesser scale. It might just have to be picnics and parks in town, walks to meet Daddy coming home, baking to cheer others. It might not be the trips, or pets etc. that I would like, but they won’t realize the difference much if it is all tied together with joy. Why live in regret when we can have happy memories with what we have?
All this is my thought process, but I still work with it in real life sometimes. Like when I watched a bunch of young cousins swimming and doing all kinds of water tricks. I felt sad that, even though my girls loved the water, they would likely not learn all that because we don’t live near creeks like that. But life is not about swimming.
At the moment it also looks like they won’t enjoy growing up around a bunch of friends or a nice youth group, like I did. But then they might not struggle as much with the loneliness I have gone through. They will likely be better equipped and stronger than I to stand alone.
Counting our Blessings.
And it all depends on which way I look. When I see the neighbor children and how they live, my girls are so blest. We have our own car with which to visit their grandparents a couple hours away regularly, instead of spending many months on the same street. By God’s blessing we have our own home, instead of having to move out from one week to the next because a young uncle gets mad and threatens to burn down the house, so the landlord sends us out to protect the house. It happened to our neighbor children.
They are so blest compared to the little girl we know whose parents apparently do drugs. And while I think they love her, their addictions spiral them into poverty, living without running water and electricity at times.
Yes, my children are blest, and as I learn to discover the blessings in a life that does not have many of the ideals I used to enjoy, as I learn in which direction to look, I find that I am so abundantly blest too. We will have many good memories of this stage in life.
Summing it up.
Good memories are like the threads that tie our childhood together. We create happy memories with our children so they can look back fondly on the time they spent at home
Use what you have and enjoy your time together. The children will remember more how they felt than what you did.
Save it for Later!
I also encourage you to preserve your memories by writing every day.