There are a lot of things that happen on any given weekend in my house. Many of them are fun, certainly, but many are certainly not.
But it’s the things that aren’t the typical, fun, wonderful occasions that I try to get the most out of since they might very well be the things that my kids remember.
Certainly, I took my kids to Disneyland last week. That’s a memory they’ll always have and hopefully they’ll think fondly of the day they spent there and the fact their old man stood in line for an hour at a time with a bad back waiting for roller coasters that scared the crap out of one of them. But those are easy memories, if you’ll pardon the flippant nature of the comment. If you have the money and the time Disney is easy. It really is. You throw money to them, walk into the park and you’re really in other people’s hands.
It’s the seemingly little things that are really important to your kids and those are the things you have to remember are there whether you want to do them or not.
My best example comes from this weekend. Two examples, really.
The first is a simple trip to the grocery store. That’s it. But it was important to 3 of the 4 kids. Understand, they got cards from their grandparents for Easter, and each of them got five bucks. They had thought, planned, I think even taken out a calculator to figure out just what they could buy with that five dollars. It’s not what you’d think, either.
I don’t do a lot of bought treats. It’s not because I’m totally organic or on a massive, non-corn-syrup avoid the preservatives kick. It’s A) cheaper and B) easier on my nerves if I make the treats myself. Bought treats literally drive my kids so bat-s**t crazy I end up peeling them off the ceiling and I’m exhausted before I even get to 9pm each night. I can’t do that, I have too much work to do after they go to bed. So when my kids asked me each day this last week why I stopped at the store on the way home without getting them first I suddenly realized they would remember I didn’t do the simple task of letting them spend their money on a simple treat.
So we went to the store. It’s not what you’d think, either. They looked at the treats, each got a small candy bar and a tiny little carton of ice-cream. Not a pint, not a quart, but a single-serving ice-cream. Hannah got a cane-sugar bottle of pop out of the micro-brew aisle. None of it was Little Debbie cakes or the like. I was proud of them, and when they were over-budget they put something back. It was a little trip, but one they’ll appreciate.
Last . . . was just for my son, Sam. He had a little stuffed dog he’d called “Spot.” It goes with a grey stuffed dog I’d gotten him years ago. It’s interesting, I never thought Sam liked the dog I’d bought him, but he clings to it, even today. Doesn’t carry it around with him, or really even nestle with it at night, but he always wants to know it’s there.
So when “Spot’s” ear started coming off he was sullen.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, not knowing what was going on.
“Spot’s ear is coming off. I was tossing him around and I shouldn’t have. Now he’s losing his ear. Wish I hadn’t done it.”
I told him that if he put it on the shelf I’d look and see this weekend if I could fix it. To him that meant Friday night. Then Saturday morning. Then Saturday mid-morning . . . until I realized he wasn’t being annoying or trying to bug me. He was worried and wanted to know, for sure, if the dog could be fixed.
“Put him on the kitchen table and I’ll see if I can fix it,” I told him. When he went upstairs to play a game with his brother, Noah, I sat at the table, sewing kit in hand, and sewed (yes, everyone, I know enough of how to sew to be dangerous. I can even thread a sewing machine! So there!) Spot’s ear back on. I shouted up the stairs at Sam that it was finished and he leaped down, four at a time, hugging the dog.
I spent five minutes at the kitchen table . . . but he will remember that forever, I think.