Today I hosted a play date for my two oldest children. In addition to my boys, there were three other TCKs. For much of the afternoon they played a game that was one part good guys/bad guys, one part chase and one part hide-and-seek. They laughed and screamed and beat a path from bedroom to bedroom in our tiny apartment.
This got me thinking about the fact that sometimes, despite all of the amazing things my children have seen and are seeing because of our international life, I really wish they could do some of the things I did as a kid.
- Lying in the driveway looking at stars and counting the falling ones.
- Building forts in the cedar trees and collecting juniper berries and leaves and twigs and making magic potions out of them.
- Walking late at night through ranch land to a friend’s house only fearing coyotes and snakes and stray barbed wire.
- Reading in a hammock, listening to wind chimes.
- Passing notes and staying up late with the same friends since kindergarten.
I’ve shared this feeling with my husband off and on over the years. He laughs because his childhood was nothing like mine. He, of course, has completely different memories that fuel his understanding of what childhood should be like.
He’s good at reminding me that what I really want them to have is good memories – memories of laughter and security and adventure.
Today I had this moment in the kitchen, making popcorn and listening to the laughter of this silly bunch of kids who’ve lived all over the world, that they have exactly what I had and exactly what my husband had. They have now and are creating every day memories that are tailored exactly for and by their own experiences.
And that’s what makes childhood memories so special. It’s not the place or the time or the exact activity, it’s the fact that you were there. You were fully engaged. You lived in that moment. In all your perfect kid-ness you just lived…without comparison or envy or the feeling that the grass was greener on the other side.
Come to think of it, that’s not too shabby of a lesson for each and every one of us…no matter how old.
Wise wise words indeed. I have often thought about all the things from my own British childhood that my Dutch children will never experience and thought what a shame – but they have so many other things instead. They are creating their own childhood memories just by living their own childhood.