Remember when your kids were babies and they were squishy and smelled delightful and you kissed their little heads 252 times a day?
Ahhh, those were the days.
Or were they?
Remember when your kids were babies and it took you approximately three years to get out the door to go to church because of a blow-out diaper disaster (if it was a really bad day you could possible ruin two sets of clothes - both yours and the baby's!) or a sippy cup spill (spill-proof, my foot!) or a unique brand of tantrum due to a tag that itched?
Hmmmm, when you look at it that way, maybe those weren't "the days."
As parents, do we tend to look back at varying stages of our children's lives and remember what was so great about that particular age? I think yes, we do. I think if we didn't do these things we would likely never have more than one child.
My eldest child is currently a senior in High School - which means, as his lunatic-crazed planner of a mother, I am relegated to spend this entire school year looking through old photos "to use for his graduation party." (Read: to cry over that his childhood went so fast and how can he not be that little anymore?!?!)
When I came across his Kindergarten photo the other day, the first thought that came through my mind was what a cute little turkey-lurky he was. And oh, how he loved our puppy Lucy at that age - he could not wait to come home from school and see Lucy and play with his little brothers. ...And then when I gave myself just another moment I also remembered all the tears. Oh that child did NOT (and I mean N-O-T) want to go to school. He did NOT like leaving his brothers and his puppy. He did NOT like missing out on what we were having for lunch. And he did NOT enjoy nine-tenths of his classmates. And to really make sure I understood how much he loathed school - he cried. Nearly every. single. day.
I'm sure I looked like mother-of-the-year dropping off my child with his tear-stained cheeks and sad eyes every morning. His teacher probably thought he spent his morning getting his cute, little butt chewed. ...And after this memory hit me also, I realized how often I (and by I, I mean we) typically sugar coat over those rough patches as they get stored in the ol' memory bank. While the happy times and the smiling moments get their shining places in the front row.
I think this is a great tactic of human nature.
Eeeek, remember trying to break the habit of co-sleeping?? Yipes, file that one away in the bottom drawer. But remember when he was five and got his first pair of ice skates and was such a natural we thought he would be the next Apollo Anton Ohno? (Pause for proud grinning time.) Keep that file on the top near the front - let's get that one out a few more times and think about it.
We shuffle and file and file and shuffle until we have a collection of moments that are happy and wonderful and so great to look back on and laugh over and somewhere... down there, in the bottom drawer, lays the file with the bold red words "ROUGH STUFF" stamped on the cover.
Are we delusional for filling our storage spaces this way?
I think not.
Who wants to be the person who only drudges up the crying or the car accident or the time you vomited in public? That person isn't all that fun to chat with. There's always someone who seems to only fill conversation with their ill-experiences and seems to always have a story that can top someone else's bad day.
Do you want to be that person? No? I don't either. Which is why when I pull out a picture and I am immediately flooded with some happy thought of when it was taken, I'm going to grin like the village idiot and move on to the next one. The next photo, the next happy memory, the next reason to smile.
And if that "ROUGH STUFF" folder stays in the bottom drawer - so be it. It has a home, it should just be happy I haven't gotten rid of it altogether.
Moral of the story? Choose happy.
It doesn't make you weird. It makes you fun to talk to.