Think about your childhood for a minute. Close your eyes and let those memories of your younger days come flooding back. What do you remember? Roast chicken for Sunday lunch, listening for Santa’s reindeer at Christmas time, searching for hidden Easter eggs in piles of hay. Bottle feeding calves, riding a horse even though he’s a bit wild, a gang of giggling girls, freshly baked pancakes with my Gran. These are just a few of the memories I have, the treasured experiences that helped to shape me into who I am today.
Of course not all of our memories are fond, I remember not liking minestrone soup and cabbage, foods that to this day I dislike. I remember being naughty and running away from my Mom, that one time I was sent out of the classroom for talking in primary school, falling off a motorbike.
Now think about your children. What will their memories be? Both good and bad. We must always remember that we are shaping their memories. I want Amy to remember candles at dinnertime, fun tickles when she wakes in the morning, hugs in the evening, splashing in the pool on a hot summer day, snuggling with the dogs when she was sad…I want her to remember fun times at home, love, laughter and happiness.
Of course she will no doubt also remember that I made her try and eat a tomato, just once to make sure she actually didn’t like its taste, and that I always tried to smuggle a pea or two into her mouth hidden amongst the mashed potato. She’ll remember those times she didn’t want to nap, but I insisted it was best for her, that time she had bronchitis and she needed an X-ray but I couldn’t come in with her because I was pregnant, when she was naughty and had a time-out.
But even though she may have memories of some tough times too, I want her life to be overflowing with memories of the good times. I want those memories to wrap her up and engulf her so tightly that they will make the others seem small and insignificant.
And if one day she can say that she had a happy time growing up with Mom and Dad, that she has happy memories of triangle cheese toast after school, reading funny Hairy Maclary rhymes, dancing to silly songs, sharing hot chocolate on a cold day, hidden marshmallows after bathtime, learning to share toys with her brother, then we would have done a good job and can sit down to finally enjoy a (hopefully hot) cup of tea.