I am more than ever convinced that the experiences we have with the ones we love are the most important thing. It’s not about the presents! It’s about being present – taking time to “do” things.
When I look back on my childhood it is the memories of what we did together as a family that stand out.
My maternal grandmother took us for a ride in the “new” Hamilton jet boat up the Waimakariri River. I still can vividly remember it. My first taste of adventure. Bryan and I want to pass on to our grandchildren a desire to expand their horizon, a thirst for learning and a willingness to try new experiences.
Do we recall with fond memories the gifts we were given? It is more likely we recall what we did with someone. No one can ever take away our experiences and memories.
I am also a great believer in having something to look forward to. The anticipation and buildup that comes with planning makes the final outcome so much more enjoyable. If there is nothing ahead then the mundane becomes, well, mundane!
The other thing that is good to do for making happy childhood memories is to have traditions such as, “Our family celebrates birthdays by….” Our kids chose their favourite evening meal on their birthday and the type of cake they wanted. This tradition then becomes a strong happy memory. A good idea I came across the other day was on your birthday having breakfast pancakes topped with berries and cream!
The memories of a child seem to be imprinted into their DNA. It’s important to make as many good memories while we can. Our children grow up so quickly and may not want to do things with us as they reach the teenage years. The years whizz by. So making the most of the time we have with our kids is never wasted.
With our second batch of little grandchildren under three (the first six are ages six to thirteen) we love having them to our place. We always take a walk around the garden. There is now a very familiar circuit which is the same every time! The twins can identify some of the native birds quite quickly now. We always discuss the wonder of trees (and the danger of the pond!). We look over the fence at the neighbour’s horses and sometimes stroke their noses and talk to them. There is usually a ride in the ‘Gator’ with Boss, so he is a huge hit. It is a time we all look forward to and it is easier than trying to take them to a cafe for a fluffy! We might save that for when they are older.
The older kids are becoming so much more interesting in their conversations and we cover a lot of different topics. It is also easier to take them out on excursions! The time spent with them when they are little pays dividends. One thing we really enjoy is to sit at a table talking and sharing a meal together.
There are always plenty of hugs and “I love you” to finish off the visit.