A Time for Rushing and Remembering
The countdown is on! The days rush by with ‘to do” lists that grow with the rapidity of the nose of a less-than-honest Pinocchio. I saw the phrase “rushing and remembering” as the lead in to an article in our local paper and it brought me up short. I wanted to sit down and write a heart-to-heart to all young parents during this time of the rolling year. I wanted to plead with them to stop rushing so for their own sakes, and build “remember whens” with their children. For THAT is what their children as they grow older will say to them. “Remember when… mom?” And it will be followed by the memory.
My girls are young women now. They have their own lives and we often talk about their growing up years in hindsight with an evaluative eye. They say hindsight is twenty twenty. Believe me, it can bring a halt to your gallop when they tell you what THEY remember as a precious moment from a holiday, versus what I, as a parent, tried to fashion into my ideal of perfection that I thought they needed. VERY differing viewpoints, let me tell you, were the outcomes of our little tete a tete times.
All I can say is that THEY remembered harried parents rushing, rushing rushing, with little time and much to do to make everything LOOK effortless. All that perfection is exhausting! Remember in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy and her pals unmask the Wizard behind the screen? He’s huffing and puffing, frantically pulling levers and implementing sound effects to create an illusion of who he tries to be. Why? Because he thought that’s what the Munchkins expected for a Wizard to be and that’s what he became. We all have expectations this time of year and we try frantically as parents to meet them, for ourselves, but mostly for our children.
What DO my girls remember of past holidays? They remember the traditions of TIME SPENT TOGETHER and not dollars SPENT ON THEM. They remember a song, a story, an ornament they loved, sock fights (they’re fun and softer than snowball fights) or the taste of a favorite cookie we always baked together.
Most of all they remembered the family time we spent with one another. Maybe it was driving around town to see the decorations at other houses, playing the carols from my own childhood as we decorated the tree, figuring out whose turn it was to put up the star on top of the tree and diving through tissue paper in search of those crumbling Play-Doh ornaments they made in elementary school? Did they survive another year packed away?
Whether you know it or not, THESE are the rememberings YOUR children will take with them for a lifetime. And here comes my plug. Please make one of their rememberings a favorite picture book story at the end of the day or maybe MIDDAY, with the two of you cuddled up. Snuggling is a very underestimated healing activity during the rushing season, they say.
There is a reason for all the herculean efforts we make this time of year. It’s to build memories in time of shared experiences! President Harry Truman had a very unusual phrase he called “foxholes of the mind”. It spoke to a moment in time that he could relive that was sweet and satisfying from the past and that he could call up when needed. Strange how fortifying those “foxholes” can be to children and adults today in our very stressful, fast forward world.
Rush to make memories this season. For in the life of a child, that is probably the most meaningful present you can give them – yourself.
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