What is your earliest memory? Mine would happen to be when we lived in Idaho near my moms family. I am not sure which was the very first memory but Idaho would have to be my first childhood memories. I remember my brothers going outside and making Barney footprints in the snow around our house before I got up so that I woud believe that barney came and visited our house… I remember chasing a rainbow thru the country trying to find the pot of gold at the end. I remember having breakfast with my mom and grandpa almost every week. I remember when I got my bike I wanted the training wheels off after a day or two because I was ‘too big’ for them and could do it without them. I remember when that bike got stolen, going to my grandpa’s to find a brand new big girl bike waiting for me. I remember my grandpa always telling me to grab the paper towels to clean up the pee of his elderly dog, whom I cherished. I remember meeting my grandma who had Alzheimer and her thinking I was my mom. I didn’t get to know her too well, she was sick and passed not too long later. I remember having group birthday parties. If you had a birthday in the same month, we held just one party. It was easier. I remember going to my aunts to make holiday cookies or having Thanksgiving at my uncles. I remember my uncles goat chasing me up a hay stack creating a life long hatred of goats. I remember one of my aunts scolding me for making a mess with a PB&J sandwich which caused a life long dislike of jelly and anything sticky. There are so many memories that I have of that place. We didn’t move back to my hometown until I was 5 almost 6. I honestly only had about 3 to 4 years with my moms family but they’re my earliest memories. Honestly, when we moved back home…. are some of the worst childhood memories. Suffering sexual abuse at the age of 5/6 was extremely terrible and difficult thing to cope with. It took about 11 years to open up about it to my family. That was very hard to do. But that is not what this post is about.
However, every day we are making deposits in the memory banks of or kids. Every day we have the opportunity to create a happy memory. A happy childhood. A happy thought. Happy kids turn into happy adults. Now that is not saying that you can’t discipline your kids, that you cannot correct them when they’re wrong or that you have to fake a life where you are constantly happy. It is saying that take time to do something with your kids that will create a happy memory for them. Do you want them to grow up remembering their childhood where mommy/daddy worked all the time and never read a good night story. Never baked cookies with them. Never sang songs with them? A childhood where they only saw their parents stress? Memories of their parents scolding them at every turn?
Yeah I don’t want my kids to think that either. Yes, I can be a strict parent and I can be a lax parent. I can get on the floor and pretend to be a horsey while the kids ride pretending to be cowgirls. We try to have an equal line. When the time warrants strict rules or punishments, then that is the parents that we are. However, we like to talk to our kids to explain what they did was wrong and discuss what they could do instead. We usually ask our oldest ‘now what is a different way you could have ….. ‘ because it shows her that she has different options in regards to her behavior and that she is making the decision to act out. Our girls know the basic rules. Even when we’re playing with them. They know there are rules. But we enjoy playing with them. We jump on the trampoline with them. We horse play in the living room floor. We throw blankets and pillows on the floor and lounge around with popcorn and drinks to watch some cartoon movie for the hundreth time. We make holiday cookies on Christmas and Easter. WE go swimming as a family. WE do family projects together. For instance, our house doesn’t have a fireplace for Santa to come down. And the oldest believes he squeezes thru the door. But she wishes we had a fireplace so that Santa could come deliver presents like he does in the movies….. So with construction paper…. we made a fireplace on the wall by the tree. Above the fireplace is paper lights that we also created as a family. Everyone helped, even the 2 year old. It didn’t take but maybe an hour to get everything together. But it was an hour that was spent as a family. TOGETHER. Creating a happy memory in the memory banks of our kid. Creating a tradition that they will remember and maybe pass on to their children. Like spending Christmas Eve dinner at my husbands mom is a happy tradition. Like going to an Easter Egg Hunt at my brothers EVERY SINGLE YEAR and then going out to eat as a family somewhere, most likely Chili’s.
It really doesn’t have to be an extravagent gesture to create a happy memory for your kids. It could be saying a good night song every night. Or in my oldest daughters case, it is the good night kisses. First on the cheeks. Then eskimo kisses and then butterfly kisses. Simple little things that are really going to stick with them. That lets them know you love them. That lets know that you care. It is beneficial for them as well as yourself. As parents, we are natually stressed. Think of these moments as a break from the stress. A tiny moment where you can put bills and money out of your head just for a few moments. It will be worth it.