Friday, July 15, 2011

Childhood Memories

The only time I have ever cut grass...with a toy lawn mower!

There is a series of thoughts that has probably worn blisters on its feet from walking through my mind so much (haha - that sounded like a pickup line!). It’s those thoughts concerning the realm of [childhood memories].

In fact, I’ve mentioned childhood memories in this blog before.

We all have certain childhood memories that will stay with us forever. Out of all of the years, days, hours and minutes that comprise our childhood, only some memories last a lifetime (The Stickers), and those ones are repeatedly remembered. They probably still impact us today in some way or another.

I’ve noticed, now that I am a mother, that a lot of the things I do with my child bring back my own childhood memories. For example, last week when I poured a cup of water over Emmett’s head to rinse out the shampoo, I remembered that my sister and I used to call those “dunkovers.” (Maybe that’s a common term; I don’t know.) I also remembered that we used to have a black bottle of bubble bath in the closet upstairs when I was a kid, and I remember bringing it out periodically, asking my mom if I could have a bubble bath instead of a regular bath.

I remember grocery shopping being the most exciting experience. My mom would always say that groceries cost much more in the weeks that she brought us kids with her. We would beg for this and that, and usually come home with some pretty awesome loot. My favourite things to bring home from the grocery store were cinnamon buns from Sobey’s and fresh onion buns to melt mozzarella cheese on in the oven.

We all have lots of these memories. Many of them involve our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or whatever other important friends, caretakers or guardians we had. How many times do people recall memories like this:

“When I was a kid, my dad used to take me fishing.”

“My aunt used to wear this really strong perfume and she would squeeze my cheeks every time she visited.”

“When we were little, my sister and I would play Barbies with our cousins.”

“We used to have sleepovers at our grandparents’ house, and I remember one time going shopping with them. They bought me a Treasure Troll. We would have crepes for breakfast.”

“One time, my brother and I made a killer fort in the woods and pretended we lived there.”

OK, you get the point.

Since I had my baby, I started realizing that one day, he would remember things from his childhood.

This is his childhood…my adulthood is his childhood, and it’s happening right now.

The time will soon come that he will start remembering things—and compiling a log of childhood stories to tell other people: his friends, his girlfriend (one day a VERY LONG time from now), and his own children.

Then I started to panic, thinking, “I am going to contribute to his memories.”

[What a responsibility!]

More than that, I have a responsibility to make sure that he has some great memories. I have a responsibility to show him wisdom because he will always remember some of the things I say, especially the things I repeat. I have a responsibility to come up with fun things to do, sprinkled with adventure, composed of variety--the stuff of stories told for years to come. I have to make sure he is safe but has the opportunity to try new things and go new places to experience his life to the fullest.


Maybe you aren’t a parent. Maybe you are an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent or a close friend of the family who spends tons of time with someone else's kids and loves them like they are your own. You have a responsibility, too. What will the child or children in your life remember about you? 

What did you teach them? Where did you take them? What did you give them? What did you say to them? How did you treat them? How did you show them you love them? How did you react to situations when they were watching?

I don't mean to make you panic. I panicked a little, but only until I reasoned that these kinds of questions are worth pondering now as opposed to later, when you wished you could have been a better role model.

Children’s memories don’t happen entirely by accident. They are shaped by the people around them. Adults definitely can’t control everything that happens to the children in their lives, but we definitely should realize how important we are in shaping their memories and experiences. After all, those memories have the potential to last a lifetime, impacting them and could even qualify to be passed on to the next generation.

Wow! This opens a whole world of possibilities! I would love nothing more for Emmett to recall certain pivotal childhood memories in his wedding day speech (if he gets married—no pressure!), saying that his parents said or did things that had a positive influence on him. That would definitely get the water works going! Maybe I should start stocking up on Kleenex now.


  1. Inspirational stuff, Christina. I try to keep this in mind when I hang out with Liam--I definitely want to be the fun aunt that loved and spoiled my nephew to bits.

    Also, we all totally played with Barbies together when we were little! I remember you guys had all these cool Barbie accessories like a plastic tennis racket and stuff. See? Memories ...

  2. Yes! I remember the tennis rackets! I also remember throwing Barbie stuff, etc. down the laundry chutes at our house...for fun!

  3. Did you ever get to use the bubble bath? If not, was it because of fear of a reaction or because of its expense or irreplaceability?

  4. Robert, we sure did get to use the bubble bath every once in a while, and it was fun!