Parenting Bloopers and Blessings: Depositing Memories Into Our Children’s Lives
"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children." Charles R. Swindoll
Do you ever wonder if there is a file in the sky with parenting bloopers? God must get a good kick out of that!
I’m sure you have a list of those wonderful memories when you became a parent and wondered, “What was I thinking?”
Today, I cherish those memories with my husband as we reminisce on those wonderful parenting bloopers in those earlier years.
When my husband and I met, I was working full time while going to college at night. Needless to say, I carried this working student schedule into our marriage and early parenting years.
One night, I remember my husband picking me up after class. I was excited to be greeted by my husband and little boy’s smiling and ever so giggly face. To my surprise, my eyes widened as I opened the car door and saw our son, Jonathan, covered in a bath of spaghetti sauce. I guffawed at my husband, “What happened?” to which he sheepishly said, “What? I cleaned him.”
That was the beginning of many more bloopers to come.
I have to admit, I am easily swayed when my children give me that, “Please, Mommy!” look. I mean who can say no to that cute, adorable face with puppy eyes and sugar on top kind of look? I remember our son begging me to let him walk our dog. He was about two years old and our puppy not much older, but in dog years that’s 7 to 1. We were at the park, the three of us, my husband, son, and I, walking our dog, and Jonathan began to plead with me. I kept saying, “No sweetie, Nakita is too big for you. She’ll knock you down. You’re too small.” But he was too insistent. “I’m a big boy, she won’t knock me down. I can do it all by myself. Please Mommy. I promise. I can do it.” And with that, splat, in an instant, face meet floor. And, away Nakita goes. I had the reindeer headlights look on my face. I was almost paralyzed with not knowing if I should go after the dog or help my child up.
What had I done? Should I laugh or cry. All I know is I felt horrible. And, that was my first parenting blooper, as I recall it.
But, with our many comical calamities came other whimsical stories that bring smiles, laughter, and tears of joy to our faces. Looking back to those early childhood memories we hold so dear, I recall a particular Mother’s Day when our children were interviewed by a church layman in charge of creating the day’s festivities. His tactic was clever and amusing.
The interview went something like:
How old is your Mom? 13
What’s your Mom’s favorite color? Blue, she loves blue, our whole house is blue and even her car is blue.
How much does your Mom weigh? She weighs 25 pounds.
How tall is she? 4-inches. (Mind you that’s not too far off from the truth.)
And so the questions went. Seriously, how would a 3 and 7 year old know those answers? Children always give the funniest responses.
One time when Marissa, our youngest, was in the car with me, she said, “No matter how mad you get at me, I know you still love me.” I knew that day I was doomed to her mischievous ways.
Marissa was a character, all by herself. As a child, she would put ketchup on everything. She especially loved ketchup on her Saturday morning pancakes. She also ordered a hamburger every time we went out to eat. It didn’t matter if it was a Mexican, Asian, or seafood restaurant. Marissa would order a hamburger. That may not sound so strange to you, seeing that children do that, except that when we ate at McDonald’s she’d order chicken nuggets. What’s wrong with this picture?
In elementary school, Jonathan had to write stories daily in his journal. I remember he wrote about Marissa’s fashion style. Mind you, she is the younger sibling. She had the habit of changing clothes several times a day, and sometimes her outfits didn’t match. But that was okay with us.
We did do a few things right, however, in our early parenting years. One time, Steven and I were at the store when Jonathan was a toddler. He had grown antsy and wanted to go outside. So, Steven took Jonathan outside while I finished shopping. When I came out I found Jonathan walking on the edge of a water fountain. Steven was watching, in case Jonathan had a misstep. Shortly after a woman approached me and told me my husband and I were doing a good job as parents. She said she watched to see what my reaction would be when I came out of the store and saw our son walking on the ledge. I just knew children needed to be able explore. It’s part of learning and growing and becoming independent. I wanted to be a good parent and her kind words were encouraging to my soul.
The list of stories goes on, but what’s important is what kind of parents we want to be. Trust is one of our family golden rules, which means never, ever lie. We would always tell our kids, if you lie once, we can’t trust you, and it’s hard to rebuild that trust.
We taught them that family time is important and that those are memories we will cherish forever, even when they are grown and married.
And, as much as we taught them to dream big, and not sweat the small stuff, we also taught them to have fun, laugh, and it’s okay to draw outside the lines.
We taught them that our doors would always be open and that they could come to us no matter what. We would be there to listen, support, and encourage them.
As our children get older, there might be times we think our children aren’t listening to us, but we are influencing our children every day whether in deed or in word. We plant the seeds and God grows them. Even if they get distracted from their path, as parents our job is to give them our best and God does the rest.
So, remember, each day of your life you have the blessing and responsibility to make deposits in the memory banks of your children’s lives. (Charles R. Swindoll)
For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has promised him.” [Genesis 18:19 ESV]