Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Making memories

The day we moved into our "new" house.
        A long time ago, back when there was only one little child running through our house, we used to do lots of fun things.  Not that we don’t do fun things now, but back then, in those early years of parenting, we did things like go to Disney World, go on trips across the country, and go out to dinner all the time.  Money was tight but we were able to find enough to treat ourselves fairly often.  The other night, Tim and I were talking to our oldest child.  Our first born was the only one to ever have our completely undivided attention for years, the only one to know the joy of being the center of our world, all alone in the limelight of parental love.  Its been a long time since she’s had us all to herself, but for once, we let her stay up late without her siblings and it was sort of like going back in time for a minute.  Somehow we started to reminisce, reliving those old days of her infancy and early toddler years.  I asked her what her earliest memory was.  She thought and thought and had trouble remembering anything from her only-child days.   She remembered pre-school, but by that time she already had a little brother and a little sister.  The first early memory she had was the time we brought her best friend a fortune cookie to try.  We had to give it to her friend’s mom in the morning before school because there was a rule against sharing lunches.  As she thought some more, she remembered one little thing from before the other kids came along.  She vaguely remembered laying on the couch in our kitchen while we moved into our house.  We moved in when she was 2 ½, just a few months before she became a big sister. 
    It is so funny what our kids remember.  She does not remember going to the Pacific Northwest and seeing Mt. St Helen’s and the Pacific Ocean.  She doesn’t remember meeting Mickey Mouse at Disney World or her first birthday party with the whole extended family in attendance.  She remembers the fun of watching t.v. in the kitchen because the house was a mess of boxes and disorganization.  She remembers sharing a cookie with a friend at school.  It makes me wonder why we, as parents, bother making fancy plans and doing big, exciting things.  The moments that stand out in our children’s minds are those simple things that we don’t even really plan but just happen in everyday life. 
    A few of my friends and I were recently discussing that old debate about quality time vs. quantity of time.  We all agreed that the idea of quality time being enough was a little bit of a delusion on the part of super busy parents and child-rearing “experts”.  In our experiences, as home schooling mothers, many most of the quality times with our children come in the midst of our long, busy days, completely unplanned and unexpected.  Quality time comes out of a quantity of time spent together, and only out of quantity.  It cannot be planned, it cannot be forced, it cannot be manufactured.  I don’t doubt at all, that once my children are all grown and on their own, they will remember the simplest and most ordinary days much more vividly than the vacations and trips to amusement parks.  It is in the ordinary days, we build memories that are not artificial but real.  We have fun that is not planned out and organized ahead of time, but spontaneous and natural.  We seem to laugh so much harder and act so much  sillier on our ordinary days than we ever do on vacation.  It is in the everyday that we build memories of being together and talking together and living together, sharing our lives and our time and our love.  So, though my daughter’s earliest memories were not what I would have expected, I cherish them as she does, for they are the memories of what life was really like when she was little. 


  1. So very true, my friend!

    I too wonder why we "manufacture" memories...yet we all do it from time to time. What I have found, like you, is that the more children we add to our family the richer the memories become as the experiences become "cheaper" from a cost perspective! :)

    Thanks for dropping by!


  2. Kari,

    You said, "It is in the everyday that we build memories of being together and talking together and living together, sharing our lives and our time and our love."

    I love this and totally agree!

    We hardly ever go on holiday or go out to dinner or visit amusement parks or... I sometimes wonder (deep down) if I am depriving my children of some wonderful life changing memories. But I shall worry no longer. You make so much sense. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Valerie and Sue- Thank you for your kind words. We are all so blessed to have Christ as the center of our lives and I think that is what makes each day so special and meaningful. May your day be blessed today and always! :)



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