06 July 2016

What Will My Daughter Remember About Her Childhood?

What Will My Daughter Remember About Her Childhood? #parenting #parentingadvice #mothers #motherhood

This weekend while entertaining our out of town friends Joe and Mimi, I took some time to sit with Maddy in the living room and simply play blocks with her. It’s one of the things she enjoys most; building a car wash to run her Hot Wheels through or a Target or Chick-fil-a, two of the places we frequent the most. Michael was deep in the middle of cooking dinner with help from Joe and Mimi so it was the perfect opportunity to get some one-on-one time with my girl. As we sat and played, Mimi looked over to me and said, “I remember my mother playing with me. It’s one of the best memories I have of her growing up. Whether she was reading a book to me at bedtime or playing a board game with me, those are the times I remember most and cherish. You are doing such a good thing with Maddy by playing with her. She will always remember this time together.” 

It was such a sweet comment and compliment. I tried to allow myself the momentary feel good, the positive. As moms, I think we have a wonderful way of poo-pooing compliments anyone may extend to us about our parenting. We are gold medal winners at finding exceptions, excuses and rebuttals as to why we don’t deserve compliments or positive commentary on our abilities, but the more the comment marinated in my mind, the more I began to feel uncomfortable and fretful. The more the word, “remember” turned over and over again in my mind, the more I couldn’t help but feel worried.

What will my daughter remember about her childhood? About me? And then this thought hit me out of the blue like a ton of bricks: “We are building a legacy every day whether or not we’re intentional about it.”

I’d like to think that she will remember all the laughs, cuddles and tender moments we’ve shared. That she will hopefully remember the fun trips to the park, reading books in bed and blowing thousands of bubbles out into the sky. I often hope that she will remember the millions of times a day I told her how much I love her or how proud I am to be her mom or how we would spend endless amounts of time playing her favorite board games, doctor, coffee shop, school and grocery store. Will she remember how I tried to soothe her when she was ill or upset? Will she remember that I genuinely tried to listen to her thoughts and feelings or how we would make tents in the living room and snuggle up with a bowl of popcorn while watching movies? These things and so much more are what I hope my daughter remembers when she looks back on her childhood.

But life and parenting isn’t always a bed of roses. It’s only stands to reason that not every day is going to be a good day for me and it’s only natural that life lends itself unpredictable, erratic and chaotic from time to time. Sometimes, it seems the lulls and low points happen in long stretches with no end in sight. Many more days than I care to admit, I’m the bad cop, the enforcer and the punisher. All necessary roles to play in parenting but what if my child remembers these things the most?

Will she remember more my depressed episodes? Not being able to get out of bed or turning in early at night, sometimes before even she goes to bed, from sheer exhaustion. That there are stretches of days where I yell much more than I should and times where the usual endless amount of hugs and kisses runs dry. Will she remember more the phrase, “Hold on just a minute” because my attention is focused on social media, the television or an email; that the memory of me in her mind is a silhouette; the face turned towards the screen versus having my full attention? When she thinks back to her childhood, will she remember more my impatience, the endless amounts of times where I said “No” more than “Yes” and the times where I know I will fail her or let her down?

I don’t know. Only time will tell, I guess, but I’ll be honest with you all – it worries me. I know it isn’t realistic to think that my child will only remember the good things about my parenting or her childhood. I know I can’t expect to be perfect; I have, and will continue, to make tons of mistakes which in turn, will affect my child. I know the natural ups and downs of life itself will take a toll on me and my child but I also have to believe that there is a balance to it all; do my best. Grace will cover the gap.

And maybe that’s the key - grace. As parents we can dream, plan, and act on all of the things that we want our children to remember about us — or not, but at the end of the day, it will be what it will be.  Grace comes in to remind us that even the smallest things are the memories our child will carry with them over into adulthood and remember long after we are gone. Yes, we will leave behind the memory of the not so perfect moments but the bike rides, catching fire flies, water balloon fights, making cookies and singing silly songs while doing hop-scotch in the driveway – these are a pivotal part of what we will leave behind.

Have you given much thought to your own parenting legacy? How do you hope your children will remember you? 
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

1 comment:

  1. I remember a lot from my childhood. I have a twin brother and my parents spent time with us equally as they did with us seperate. As long as your doing the best you can that's all that matters. She is certainly a little cutie.