This is the question my youngest daughter, Becky asked her father this past Father’s Day. I was waiting for him to say something like “watching you all become wonderful adults” — but he didn’t even have to think about it. He immediately blurted out “wrestling with all four you on the bed at the same time – and laughing when one of you kicked a hole in the wall and we tried to figure out how we were going to tell your mother.” All of the kids LOVED that memory and they remembered it also – the same way he did – how often does that happen – our kids remembering something exactly the same way we do???
My son, Bob then posted the above picture showing Pat with three of our children (Jenny, Bob and Tim) – while our niece watched him. As Bob so aptly stated: “If there ever was a perfect public service announcement for birth control, it would be this picture. Happy father’s day to a man who hasn’t slept since the 80s.”
And yet – what all of our children remember is wrestling with their dad, laughing and conspiring. They don’t remember the craziness surrounding them every day, the stress felt by their parents as we struggled to pay the bills, or even the guilt their Mom and Dad felt because we had to say ‘no’ because we didn’t have the money, time or energy for something.
No – the REAL memories are those that shaped them into the people they are today – loving, caring people who aren’t afraid to laugh with each other (and sometimes at each other’s expense). They understand that it isn’t about the perfectly cooked meals or the special vacations — it’s about the laughter, the fun and the love.
My hope for my children – It’s that when their children ask them what their favorite memory is of being parent – they have a similar story to tell.