Good memories and bad memories. If we are human, both kinds flood our lives. Like shiny or tarnished coins, past experiences sift through our minds and project onto our hearts. Memories are important, but for moms and dads they take on urgency. We long for our children’s remembrances to be good ones.
But here’s the deal from a memory-dim Grandma. I spent so much of my mommy time trying to make memories, busy with big and special stuff, at times I forgot that just plain living provides some of the very best kinds of memories.
Now, as I step back and listen to my adult children with their own children, I recognize our family’s DNA spreads like thick peanut butter, with layers of laughter and silliness.
There is a family culture unique to every family. It offers safety, comfort, and familiarity. It signifies home. But for much of the chaotic years of crying babies and messy diapers, that culture seems invisible. It is difficult to find anything cohesive above piles of laundry, dirty dishes and tripped over toys.
Making memories is a wonderful gift. We never grow too old for the magic of a special surprise or anticipation of planned activities. But like the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible, best laid intentions can distract from the most important thing.
“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”Luke 10:40 NIV
Too busy, worried, and distracted by demands, Martha complained to Jesus about her sister. The preparations at hand had become most important in Martha’s frenetic activities, even more important than the Guest at her table. At times our pressured drive to make good memories is similar. The mirage we strive so hard for, will never be perfect, and like the sibling rivalry of those two sisters, can create needless stress and tension.
Although I am right there with Martha, I can’t help but be humbled every time I read Jesus’ response.
“…few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”Luke 10:42 NIV
The happy memories we hope to make can sometimes weigh like an invisible scorecard. As if those recollections of childhood rate our parenting skills or value. Much is beyond our control. Illusive memories ultimately belong to God.
In our pursuit of a rose-colored backdrop, a double take at Mary may help us strike the right balance.
Mary’s posture reminds us the most vital activity we can possibly pass down to our children’s memory is sitting at the feet of Jesus. Mary simply needed to be with Jesus more than she needed to accomplish the tasks begging her attention.
Mary’s posture reminds us the most vital activity we can possibly pass down to our children’s memory is sitting at the feet of Jesus. @sylschroeder #parenthood #memories #legacyTweet
Our children, with our grandchildren tugging at their arms and climbing on their laps, talk of childhood adventures, but not the big elaborate ones as much as the regular happenings of everyday life. The kind that took place in our back yard on a hot day with a water hose, the climbing tree, and the bike races in our cul-de-sac.
Our children remember the long-saved-for vacation to Disneyland, but not as much as traditional Saturday night pizza and a movie. The massive waterpark was a blast, but the forgone bedtime story, an epic tragedy. The things they could count on, those are the things they gather around today.
Memories are in the repetition, routine and mundane.
How do I know? I know by the pizza dough rising in their houses every Saturday and the cry from our grandchildren at bedtime, “We’re ready for story!” I know because of the whispered prayers in the dark, the strawberry Kool-Aid popsicles and buttered popcorn with football. It’s obvious by the Sunday morning going-to-church ritual, and the colored pages on the fridges. I hear the memories echoed in my grandchildren when they hug their mom or dad’s legs, look up and say, “I love you.”
This space of everyday is where our footprint of memories is sweetest.
Scripture talks a lot about remembering. The good and the bad. The Israelites didn’t do such a good job of it. Joshua and his men took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan riverbed to remember how they had crossed on dry land. God designed generations with the command to “not forget.” Jesus installed the practice of communion so we would be reminded of His sacrifice.
What we remember with joy is tied to where our affections lie.
So when you feel you are failing to make good memories, worried the bad ones could crowd out the good, trust the Father to bring to mind the simple pleasures of life lived—not perfectly pruned, but well grown.
Happy rear-view mirrors, like all of motherhood, belong to a Sovereign Father. In our memory-making attempts, we must not forget: He is the One in control. Jesus provides the thread which stitches together our children’s memory patchwork in His unique design.
Happy Rear-view mirrors, like all of motherhood, belong to a Sovereign Father. @sylschroeder #Parenthood #ParentsTweet