Saturday, May 14, 2011

You're In Charge Of It

As I was taking this picture, I was thinking about the smile on her face.  I thought about the comments people make to Gregg and I, about what a lucky little girl she is.  I'm not sure why but that's what people say when they don't know anything about our family and how it came to be.  As I usually tell them, no, we're the lucky ones, because we were chosen to be her Daddy and her Papa, and to love and take care of her.  As a parent knows, seeing that smile makes you smile, and gives you that fluttery feeling in your gut that swells up and lights up your face with pride.  I started to think about the responsibility of raising a child--schooling, love, learning about the world, and so on.  I think though, the most important thing a child will take with them after they're grown, is the memory of childhood itself.  And yeah, you're in charge of that too.

I'm lucky.  I fall into nostalgia on a regular basis thinking about growing up.  My parents are still married, and my family is still intact.  My parents weren't rich by any means, but securely middle class.  With five kids, there was always a juggling act with finances I'm sure, but we weren't made aware of that.  There were always great Christmases, summers spent camping and going to the beach, time playing with our cousins, and lots of love.  The memory of childhood is powerful, and it's why I get teary eyed every time Frosty melts no matter how hard I tell my adult self snowmen can't come to life.  It's why I know all the really important breaking news is announced by a frog in a trench coat, and not some partisan hack.  Breaking the no tag backs rule gets you ostracized from the group, if only for a few minutes, and architectural wonders can be created with a cardboard box and some broken crayons. 

I know I'm lucky, because there are people I know who's childhood memories aren't that great.  I want Sabrina to look back on these years with fondness as I do.  So far I'm sure we're on the right track.  But we've got a lot to teach her.  I'm listing my priorities below.  Leave a comment and tell me what you still need to teach your kids so they have great childhood memories as well.

Things Sabrina Needs To Know:
  • The secret identities of all the Super Heroes, and that no matter what anyone says talking to fish isn't really a useful super power (I'm looking at you Aquaman!).
  • How to make twirly whirlies out of maple tree seeds, even if they are few and far between in Arizona.
  • Picking out the best stick for roasting marshmallows.
  • Blanket fort building.
  • Even if he yells, it's still totally worth it to sneak up on Papa and drop an ice cube down his pants.
  • Hand stands in the pool.
  • Watching the (original) Star Wars movies with Daddy and Papa for the first time is important, even the one about the army of hamsters.
  • The President of the United States is an important man no matter what grown ups say.  Yeah even the last one.
  • Frogs aren't gross until you're over the age of 10.
  • How to throw a Frisbee and ride a bike.
  • Digging a large hole in the back yard for no reason at all always seems like a good idea at the time, until your parents find out.
  • Saying good bye to Ripley and Chase one day is going to be very hard, but Daddy and Papa will do their best to get you through it. 
  • Even if your prom date looks like Tyson Beckford or Brad Pitt, your fathers aren't going to like him.  Stare at him yes, like him, no.
  • Be awesome and show your personality in everything you do, no matter how strange it might seem, and your fathers will be there for you.
So tell me, what will you do for your kids to make sure their childhood memories are the best they can be?

Tortoise Farmer

13 comments:

Crista said...

I love the list! And yes, we are already working on our list. :) The nursery staff laughed when Mike was saying how much she would love Star Wars as he was listing things to look forward to. Mike just added "find pictures in the clouds and stories in the stars." I think we are off to a good start. :) I will be updating my blog as soon as I can get all of my thoughts together.

emsydaisy said...

Beautiful post. I'm going to be thinking about our list too. I'm sure it will mirror a lot of what's on yours - I LOVE the magic of childhood. For E I'm hoping to surround her with love - so that she always feels safe. I was one of those kids that lived quite an opposite life from yours, but somehow my dad made it special. Especially birthdays - birthdays are the best!!

S looks so big in that first picture, such a little girl already. It's so wonderful.

Jennifer said...

I think anything they can do outside is great for making memories. Taking a hike down to the falls or when they're older, jumping in a tube and riding down the rapids. How to taste a honey suckle. Catching lightening bugs and putting them in a jar as a "night light". Camping and visiting many different places. Lots of finger painting, playing dress up and making mud pies. Anything messy is automaticly fun :)

Rhonda and Gerry W said...

I loved this post. I read it with a HUGE smile...thanks for sharing! :D

Mickey said...

I think you're all lucky to have each other. When a family "works" just like yours does, everyone is lucky.

As for Blake's childhood... I wing it for the most part! :-D

Kathryn said...

Dribble castles in the sand, hot cocoa by the fire (involving downhill skiing if possible), climbing trees and staying up in them for hours..

That's the beginning of my list for E.. Just a start, now I'm going to have to think of more!

mommy3 said...

Beautiful post -- I agree with most of your list (my husband will have to take care of the superhero part). I'd add:
> lots of magic. The tooth fairy, Easter bunny, Santa and all. Magic is so important
> a big handmade doll house (that we make)
> American Girl dolls
> learning the value of reading!
> traveling as a family to learn about other people and places
> learning about Cesar Chavez, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Harvey Milk and other amazing leaders and role models

Bobby said...

Susan your list is awesome, as are you!

BellaDaddy said...

WOW! Adore the list...brought back so many memories...and as you probably know, we are very direct, honest and goofy with our little one. We subsribe to similar philosophies.

Cheers!

Lisa T. said...

I do believe we must have grown up the same way. :) Love that! and if you'd like I will send you a big envelope of whirligigs from our side walk, HUNDREDS. THOUSANDS. so she gets in enough practice. (Random holes, star wars and super heroes are right on!)

Lisa T. said...

I do believe we must have grown up the same way. :) Love that! and if you'd like I will send you a big envelope of whirligigs from our side walk, HUNDREDS. THOUSANDS. so she gets in enough practice. (Random holes, star wars and super heroes are right on!)

mommy3 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mommy3 said...

Just read through this entire list. This is like the bucket list for childhood. Period. Thank you big time to Bobby for making me think about all of this! -- (Re-posted because somehow my typing thought it was Friday...) -- susan