What have I traded my youth for? As I stare at the greyed sagging image in the mirror that looks like the ‘before’ picture in a Botox ad (and a Regaine ad, and a Jenny Craig ad) I wonder where the years have gone. It is possible they’ve actually gone to my waist. In fact several decades of pork crackling and biscuits could be lurking down there.
Mainly, I’ve traded years for memories. Even though I have increasing difficulty remembering where I’ve parked my car and couldn’t tell you what I had for lunch, I do have more memories, very precious memories, which have cost me decades to obtain. With Older-Male Brain Shrinkage an increasing reality, my brain isn’t the safest place for storing these memories, but fortunately some are stacked away in photo albums and on shaky home videos (ask me to show you the one of my wife on the inner tube, but you can’t tell her you’ve seen it). Better still, many of the best memories are stored in my kids’ heads, where I think they’ll stay safe and fresh long after the photos have faded and my brain has turned to compost. I’m delighted how often their conversations turn to, “Remember when…”. Many of the events seemed so insignificant to me at the time and yet are now retold as if they were hugely significant events. Of course they delight in recounting my crimes (“Remember when you swore when your car got towed away!” – I’m sure they make half of it up) but more often they reminisce over the fun stuff and adventures we’ve had. Here’s a sampler –
- Catching a first fish on a wharf (better still, catching eels – they have the added boy-appeal of being slimy and can terrify your sister)
- Marathon Monopoly sessions during a wet holiday
- Water fights with the neighbours
- Surfing the dunes at Bethells Beach
- Camping out on the lawn
- Getting lost on cross country hikes
- Tea parties in the tree hut
- Quizzes in the car on long trips
- Homemade videos
- Play fights on the bed
- Concerts and magic shows
- Destroying the lawn with a water slide
- Snow fights
- Talcum powder body-silhouettes on the bath mat
- Discos in the lounge
- Satellite spotting on summer evenings
- Blackberrying and strawberry picking
- Sleeping in huts in the lounge made from inverted furniture and blankets
- ‘Pajama days’
At times, parenthood feels like an endless battle against colic, sibling rivalry, asthma, crooked teeth, disgruntled teachers and the influences of other people’s children. But the delightful thing is how memories of the bills and daily chaos fade, but memories of the fun stay glittering and fresh. Consciously add to your store of good memories with your kids. There’s nothing better you could trade those valuable years for.
The Parenting Place is delighted to partner with Sentinel Homes to bring you this campaign dedicated to Kiwi mums and dads enjoying their parenting and home life that much more. Enjoy the Little Things is about taking time to appreciate your children in the small moments as well as the big ones. Many of these occur in the home itself – sitting in the lounge deciding what Saturday night movie to put on, staying an extra couple of minutes after they’ve fallen asleep, making pancakes in funny shapes and laughing together about it – and we love celebrating them all. Thanks, Sentinel Homes, for partnering with us.