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Making Memories (image from tammysrecipes.com)

I’m reading a wonderful book (that I only manage to pick up for a couple of minutes here and there).  It’s called My Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  It’s wonderfully written.  It makes me laugh, I get it.  It makes me realize I’m not alone and that life, really is good.  Most importantly, it reminds me that I’m the main person who will determine my happiness and my impact on others.  I’m sharing a passage this morning because it really hit me.  Here’s to all of us parents, learning as we go, and trying to love every minute of it, even when it’s really hard.

Her chapter I’m reading is entitled “Singing In The Morning” and it caught my attention right away, because good or bad, I have always tended to wake my children with song or at least an attempt at it.  When they were little they loved it.  Sing them to sleep (they each had their own personalized lullaby – what else was there to think about during those 2 a.m. feeding?  It calmed them and allowed me to stay awake long enough to do my motherly stuff) and sing them awake “It’s a beautiful morning” or “Wake up sleep head”. Now that they are far too close to being grown, they probably truthfully don’t love it, but they do put up with it.  I don’t always do it, but somehow, like Gretchen, I’ve found mornings just somehow start off better for the most part when I do.

The main topic of the chapter is really about finding ways to enjoy the parenting tasks or situations that truthfully are not our favourites, like planning details for a birthday, or having to get up early on a weekend with a child who refuses to grasp the beauty of sleeping in (after all, there is an entire world out there to explore don’t you know?!)

Gretchen shares an experience of a friend who is also a father.  It’s a story that is a great reminder about how to look at life for all of us.

A friend of mine told me that when his sons were five and three years old, they woke up at six every morning.  On the weekends, week after week, he and his wife tried to persuade them to go back to sleep or to play quietly — with no success.

So finally he gave up.  He’d let his wife stay in bed, and he’d get the boys dressed and out the door.  He’d stop for coffee, then the three of them would head for the park, and he’d watch them play for an hour before they returned home for breakfast.

These days his boys sleep late on the weekends, and now, my friend told me, those morning are some of  his clearest and happiest memories of that period.  The morning light, the quiet park, his little boys racing across the grass.

The days are long, but the years are short.

“The days are long, but the years are short.”  Wow!  Exactly.  This is something that is so true, but not just for watching our children grow.  It’s about our entire life.  Can’t see the forest for the trees.  Stay present, but beware of the whole.

I’ve learned that sometimes our best memories come out of experiences that initially aren’t something we are happy about.

This dad not only made beautiful memories with his sons, whom I’m very convinced will remember those early mornings with dad as fondly in time as their dad does.  Some of the most beautiful memories are the simplest.

It’s a waste of time to begrudge someone anything, because it will only take away from the memory making.  The thing I noticed missing in the story was his resentment for his wife being the one who got to sleep in.  I don’t know if he ever felt resentment because he was the one always getting up.  I’m guessing he really didn’t feel any resentment because I think he probably started to realize just how fortunate his position was pretty early on.  She got to sleep, but dad?  Dad gets the experience and the memories which he will hold in his heart forever.

I don’t know about you, but I think that was a pretty good trade off.

“The days are long, but the years are short.”  Don’t I know it.  Time to take advantage of those long days and make them as memorable as I possibly can.

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