Friday, February 1, 2013

Memory Makers

The job description of a parent is definitely diverse and vast.  At various points throughout our children's lives, we get to wear the hat of diaper-changer, laundry-washer, and grocery-shopper.  Besides some of these more practical and mundane tasks that are associated with parenting, one of the roles I've really come to embrace (and love) is that of memory-maker.

I think I first started to consciously pay attention to this when I read the book, The Happiness Project.  At one point, the author talks about how one of the things that makes her happy is being a treasure-house of memories for her family.  For some reason, the concept stuck with me, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought, "Yes, I want to be a treasure-house of memories for my family too."

Of course, to be a treasure-house of memories requires that you create or make memories to treasure.  And what I realized as I put together photo books-- and forgot to write in baby books-- is that I didn't just want to create memories that were associated with big things...things like birthdays, vacations, holidays, and the like.  I also wanted my kids to have special memories of more ordinary things as well...things like Friday nights, mealtimes, and back to school shopping.

When I read a recent article by Marilyn Sharpe, it resonated with this idea that memory-making doesn't have to be complex or complicated.  "What opportunities does your family take to gather, to celebrate, and to make memories?" she asks.  She then shares her go-to tip for creating family memories and traditions.  "If you do something once and your child loves it," she says, "that is your new family tradition."  Here are some ideas Marilyn shared for ways you might make some memories with your family:
  1. Stop at Dairy Queen after church. 
  2. Gather your neighbors or friends for a mid-winter potluck. 
  3. Throw a Valentine's Day party for your family or extended family.  For each person there, name one thing you love about them.
On top of these ideas, here are a few favorite ideas of my own...
  1.  Have a pizza picnic on the living room floor.
  2. Start "Sundae Sunday": On Sunday afternoons or as dessert, have ice cream sundaes with all the fixings.
  3. At the beginning of each school year, have a "back to school day" with each child individually to buy necessary school supplies and clothes, get a haircut, and then go to lunch at the place of his/her choosing.

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