On Being a Parent: Making 2017 Memories
How amazing it is to realize 2016 is nowstored away in our memory banks for all time. If you are the typical family, there are good memories as well as those we’d rather forget.
This 2016-2017 school year marches on with vigor, but before this New Year gets away from us, maybe a little reflection over the last one might be a nice guideline to benchmarks for the coming months ahead.
Over the holidays, I watched my son’s interactions with six-year-old Ashley. I was amazed at the patience, the fun, and his way of communication with her. He seemed to have so much more patience than I had at his age.
I credit it partly to the fact he is a single dad. His time with his daughter is limited to every other weekend, with extra time around holidays and summer months. This limit makes him aware of how fast time goes by and how Ashley is growing. He is determined to make the most of every visit. He laughs about how it takes so little to excite her; she’s totally happy about building a fire in the fireplace or getting to watch her favorite TV show.
He and I talk about how unfortunate it is that adults don’t keep that same level of enthusiasm as the years pile up and we forget to appreciate little everyday happenings, such as hugging and laughter, tossing a ball, or taking long walks together.
In the meantime, in Ashley’s life, her memory bank is being flooded with happy things and life is good.
A few years back, while preparing for a parenting presentation, I became familiar with Dr. Kevin Leman’s work. He gives some of the simplest tips on improving parent-child relationships. He stresses how important it is to talk to your kids … a lot! He’s not talking corrections or reprimands, but instead is suggesting getting their opinions, helping them to work out their conflicts, and encouraging their ideas. Pleasantness behind closed doors can turn the tide of a harsh outside world.
Quality time, space, boundaries, responsibility and discipline wrapped up in love is Dr. Leman’s heart cry. Is it any wonder that parenting is one of the greatest challenges in the world? So much to teach, and time isn’t on our side.
We parents know we don’t always get it right, but unforgettable sweet memories scattered here and there help parents know they don’t get it all wrong, either!
I smiled and reminisced a couple of weeks ago as I received a text from both my sons within just a few hours’ time. The two texts were almost identical:
“Mom, we’ve just finished decorating the Christmas tree. Elvis was playing in the background.”
They both knew I would love that thought, as Elvis was our tradition for their years at home.
However, I did notice that neither of them mentioned eggnog. I always insisted drinking it was just the “right thing to do” while having the tree experience. It seems they deleted that part of the tradition!
Nevertheless, though thousands of miles apart, we were all connected by memories that don’t fade with the years, but grow stronger and deeper.
I truly believe you are on the verge of making family memories during the coming year that will play out again and again in the lives of your children for decades to come. Make 2017 the best year ever!
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
— Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, writer, cartoonist and animator
By Antje Hill