Since the birth of our daughter 3 months ago, I have been taking a break from the blog – a bit longer one than I had planned. I still want to provide interesting and insightful articles on my blog in the meantime. I will have guest posts from various bloggers, as well as posts by me when I have some time to write. Thanks for understanding. —MamaWendy
This guest post comes from a good personal friend of mine named Pamela who blogs at The Ripple.
Mom! Dad! Don’t Forget!
Remember what it felt like the first time you were out after dark without your parents? How it exciting it was when you had your first hit in tee-ball? What about how absolutely terrifying your nightmares were? The feeling you had when you first drove the family car all by yourself, legally? The butterflies in your belly on your first date? That crazy bike crash when you broke your arm and that incredible pain? Being so excited for Santa to come that you couldn’t sleep?
No? Not until I just reminded you? You’re not alone.
So many of those firsts, so amazing and alive when we experienced them, are faded and dim. They’re there, for sure, but they’re buried deep under all the stuff we’ve experienced and learned and endured as we’ve done what Peter Pan never wanted to do. Grow up.
As parents, we recognize how very fragile and vulnerable our children are, how absolutely in our care they are. We nurture and guide them, teach them and hope for them. We protect them fiercely, knowing what we do about the dangers of this world. But to some degree we do them a substantial disservice.
We have forgotten. As we have grown and begun our own families, a mild amnesia has set in and we have forgotten those magical, horrible, painful, blissful memories of our own childhoods.
When your child is creating art on his own and wants to show you each and every line and color, do you lose your patience? Or do you remember when you were doing the very same thing, desperate for the approval of the people you revered above all else, your Mom and Dad? When your child is freshly pressed and dressed, ready for the important family occasion, and suddenly notices how completely irresistible the puddle in the driveway is, do you see a delay in the outing or do you remember the countless rainy days you spent puddle-jumping? When your teenager is doing her hair for the fourth time in preparation for her first real date, are you exasperated or are you sitting in your favorite chair with a glass of wine, reliving the exciting nervous promise of your first date? So many examples!
I think, as Moms and Dads, we have such responsibility for our children’s well-being and safety that we no longer allow ourselves the luxury of remembering our firsts. I think too that we remember much more clearly the painful hurts of growing up and we want above all else to shield our children from those experiences. Trouble is, forgetting so much of what we went though takes away a tool that we can use to help our children navigate the tricky waters of growing up.
It takes a lot of faith, strength and love to keep those memories close at hand in order to share them with your kids. And of course, the brain knows what it’s doing when it helps you bury memories. But keeping those events of your youth close at hand, and having the faith to let go a little, is a gift your children will appreciate throughout their entire lives, especially as they become parents themselves someday.
The next time your son or daughter comes flying into the freshly cleaned house covered in mud, dying to show you the frog in their grimy hands, hit the pause button. Just for a second, think about how you may have done that very thing. Think, just for a split second, about the fact that your child is so excited to show you this treasure and how in the not-too-distant-future that won’t be the case. Maybe spare a few minutes to really check that froggy out while you gently steer your muddy kid back outside. Kiss him or her on the sweaty, stinky head and remember your first slimy treasure.
When your child gets their heart broken in two, whether it’s by their first love or the coach who cut them from the basketball team, spare a few minutes. Sit near them, hug them if they’ll let you, share a snack and your memories with them. Although it means reliving something difficult, the bond you strengthen with them is something they’ll always remember, especially when their children have a similar experience.
When your young adult gets into trouble, as they often do while they’re learning and growing, think back to your wild youth. Just because you are in a position of power or responsibility now doesn’t mean you never stole a street sign or had a beer before you were legally allowed to. Be strong, be firm, but be honest and share the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
Remembering our childhood can be beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. Having the strength, honesty and faith to share our memories with our kids and help them along the way can be a powerful way of demonstrating just how much we truly love and care for them. It’s a ripple you can begin today, and watch spread through the next generations.
Pamela is the mother of two grown children. She is also a massage therapist and artist. Her new creative ripple, as she says, is designing and creating unique zombie dolls. You can check them out on her Facebook page, Fiddleheads and Chaos. And don’t forget to check out her blog The Ripple.
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Wendy – ParentingTips365.com