Someday my kids will grow up.
Sometimes a day seems to last a month, and sometimes a month flies by like the snap of my fingers. But someday, someday, they will grow up. They will leave our house and go off to make their own lives. They’ll go to college and choose their paths. They will date people, maybe marry people, and maybe have children of their own. They will buy their own furniture, pay their own utility bills, and drive their own cars. They will get grown-up jobs, have grown-up 401Ks, and grown-up mortgages.
Right now while they are small and days are tough, despite my insistence that I’m a good mother, I have fantasies in which they are older and everyone knows how to potty and have reasonable discussions and cleans up. I also know that someday I will long for these days again, when they needed me, when my kisses made everything better, when they needed advice, or for me to read them a book, or wanted a shoulder to cry on.
I hope my kids will look back and remember these days fondly. Here are 10 things I hope my children will say about their childhood.
- We had fun at home. Yes, we watch TV, but we also play board games and cards, we sit around the dinner table almost every night, and the kids play with each other. Decent, right?
- We had fun vacations. We work hard to find good places to take our kids to unwind, and I hope they remember the treks to the beach or lake or mountains, the crazy car topper hooked atop my SUV that I once ran into the garage, our golden retriever ever-present in the back seat with them.
- We love our extended family. We have an amazing extended family on all sides, and even though we are far away from them, I want our kids to know them personally, not just their pictures on our walls. So we drive, we FaceTime, we put letters and packages in the mail, and we try to make sure our kids really know their family.
- Our pets made our lives better. We have a dog and a cat. More specifically, we have a calico cat Georgia who was our spoiled first child and who has since weathered the birth of three children and a dog adoption. We have Lexi, a golden retriever who I once thought would be like Nana from Peter Pan but is more like having another kid. And our kids adore them. They take turns feeding them, brushing them, and even giving them baths.
- Our parents instilled good values in us. We want our kids to be honest and kind. We want them to work hard in school, contribute at home, and be productive members of society one day. We’re trying here, and I think I’m succeeding. Read that story here.
- Our parents were fair. I should add “referee” to my resume because on most days, I feel like a black and white striped jersey with a whistle might be a step up. But, I refuse to raise terrorists. When they do or say something wrong, I want to correct them, and I want them to consider their actions, the consequences, the think-before-you-act mentality, the I’m-grounded-but-I-deserved-it mentality. I hope they believe we were fair to them.
- We had everything we needed, and some of what we wanted. Nope, we will not be spoiling the terrorists.
- We learned the value of hard work. The kids have chores now, and when they can, our plan is for them to have jobs and earn some of their own money. It’s so much harder to spend money when you think how many burgers they flipped for it or how many hours they babysat.
- We value our education. As a former teacher and big fan of education in all its forms, I’ll be making sure my kids know how lucky they are. I don’t think we’ll be drill sergeants about grades, but our kids are smart and we want them to have choices about their education: where they’ll go, what they’ll study.
- We had a great childhood. I’m not saying they need to break into a Mary Poppins show tune, but I hope they will look back on growing up and be thankful.
It’s a tall order, but it’s the goal, one we work for each and every day (even if we’re not so good at it some days). How do I know what we hope they’ll say? My husband and I can say these things about our own childhood.
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