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What I Want my Children to Remember

I’m in the midst of planning Ben’s third birthday party (not to mention we just moved into a new house this past weekend).  I always stress when it’s birthday party time. I’m no Organized Mom, planning elaborately themed parties for each of my kids each year , though I wish I was and always ask her for tips and tricks. Even though I want my kids to have the perfect birthday parties, sadly, I just can’t execute them. I don’t like to stay up all hours of the night baking cookies and creating party games. I know it sounds selfish, but I’m sure my kids are much happier with my chipper demeanor after a full night’s sleep than with a perfectly planned party. I totally envy those moms who can pull it off and like doing so.

The reason I stress about it though, is because I want my kids to have good memories (don’t we all?). I want them to think back to how special their birthdays felt each year. But I think that doesn’t have much to do with the party, right? Granted I remember a particularly fun 1950’s themed birthday party (my first boy/girl party) and my surprise Sweet 16 party, but nothing else about childhood birthdays particularly stick out.

What I do remember is how much fun my parents were when we went on vacation. It had nothing to do with where we were…it had to do with their attitude. The freedom being on vacation gave them and the happiness they exuded. I remember taking drives on Sunday afternoons with no intentional destination. I remember my sister and I laughing so hard at dinner about something my mom was upset about that instead of getting in trouble, we made my parents start laughing too.

Here are some things I want my boys to remember:

  • The silly songs we make up about everything
  • Ben’s nickname (Chicky)
  • The sound of the crossing signal at our old house that sounded when we went to the farm across the street
  • There is always room for them in our bed (only in the morning though)
  • Taking adventures…even if it’s just to the ice cream shop up the street
  •  How much they love to read

Like the author, I fear they will remember my frustration and shouting; my distraction and unwillingness to really listen to them sometimes but my hope is that they will remember better things. What are some things about their childhood or your family do you want your children to remember?

3 comments

  1. Mary Lauren June 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that my post was meaningful to you. Thank you for sharing your list- I love it.

  2. Marisa Frank June 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Although I do enjoy planning birthday parties, I agree with you that it is not the party itself that is important but the memories we make.

    I hope my kids remember that I am always here to help and encourage them. I hope they remember our family vacations. I hope they remember laughing during family movie nights or family game night. I hope they remember that they can do anything they set their mind to.

  3. Jey Wriet June 6, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    You are right to focus on the love! Though I have been “that mom” who pulled off the mega-theme parties and my kids had a blast, I wore myself out every time. Though they do have happy memories of those parties, they certainly have a lot of happy memories that have nothing to do with those parties and those everyday things are the ones that will stick with them forever. My son recently begged me to finish a scrapbook that I’d started long ago. Though he had other, seemingly more exciting things to do at the time, when it was done, he stopped everything and went through every page, just enjoying the memories. That meant so much to me, knowing that our everyday life, just snuggle time and inside picnics and whatever else we came up with was just as important in making him who he is and who he is becoming – as any big party ever did.

    I don’t know if you saw the movie Pursuit of Happyness, but it’s about a man who was homeless and trying to care for his young son. I saw the interview with the real life father and son it was based on and the now, grown man son said he really didn’t remember all the trials they went through, just that every time he looked up, his father was there. That spoke volumes!

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