I had, what I would consider, a pretty wonderful childhood. I have one brother, 18 months younger than me that was my very favorite playmate, my mom stayed home and was very involved with everything my brother and I were involved in, and my dad worked very hard to provide for the family.
I remember our amazing Summer family beach vacations, our trip to Disney World, I remember going to Braves games, and Arts and Crafts fairs, the Children's Museums, plays, concerts, and musicals at The Fox, the Chattanooga Aquarium, and all the other wonderful places my parents took us, and the culture and experiences they exposed us to. We, no doubt, learned and gained so much from all of those outings.
But you know what I remember, and I treasure even more than all of those experiences?
The time we spent at home, together. Playing school with my brother with our cabbage patch dolls. We played house with our Fisher Price Kitchen (that my parents still have and my own children love) for hours.
I remember playing outside in our backyard and molding the "ground chuck" (aka dirt) into patties or "hamburgers" that we would cook on tree stumps.
I remember making necklaces out of colorful plastic beads and friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss, and pot holders out of elastic bands. Then my brother and I would either sell them door to door, or set up stands in the front yard for passing cars to admire. :)
I remember coloring, and reading, listening to music and watching Saturday morning cartoons (since that's about the only time cartoons were on when I was little!).
I treasure the memories of spending time with my brother, and mom, and spending time in the backyard with my dad. So many simple moments, that all rolled up into my memory, really created the foundation of my love for family and my love for togetherness.
Sometimes I get caught up in the busyness of the world, and all the exciting adventures and trips my friends take their kids, and all the fun things to do, and all the fun places I take my own children, and think that I have to keep going and going and going. Now, don't get me wrong, we do a lot, and I love taking the kids out and about so they can experience every single thing that this beautiful world of ours has to offer. But it can be hard for me to sit still, and at times I am sitting on the edge of the sofa, bouncing my heels off the floor, twiddling my thumbs, thinking of the next thing and the next place, and scheduling our calendar so tight that we barely have room to rest.
But then, I do sit still and remember that as much as we love all the fun activities, it's not just the ice skating in the park, and the Breakfasts with Santa at Christmas, and the apple picking, and the museums, and the water parks, and the beautifully detailed birthday parties, and the perfectly planned out vacations, and the this and the that, and the moving and the shaking that make for a memorable childhood. Those moments have their own importance, they are exciting and something different to break up the days, but there is more.
It's also the everyday moments that we as moms can sometimes take for granted that are so wonderful. It's the bear-shaped peanut butter toast for breakfast. It's playing with the Barbie Cruise Ship and Camper in the floor with your sister. It's staying in your jammies all weekend and playing kitty cats with your brother and sister. It's princess tea parties and watching football (in uniform) past your bedtime. It's snuggling during Friday movie nights, and hitting the golf balls in the backyard with your dad. It's eating dinner together every night at the table. It's the simple things and those seemingly ordinary times that bind us together as families where we really learn the most. It's the down-time and the restful times that we spend with the ones we love and the ones closest to us, when we really recharge our batteries and end up teaching, and learning, the best lessons.
And when I look back on my childhood, those everyday moments weren't ordinary at all. They were educational, and loving, and comforting. They taught patience, and effective communication, and expression of personality. They taught creativity and sharing, problem solving, and compassion. They taught me that my family is the very most important thing to me in the entire world, and that the love your siblings and your parents give you is absolutely irreplaceable and can serve as a constant in your life. They taught me that time at home with the ones you love is priceless.
They taught me that those everyday moments are the ones that really end up mattering the most.