It's the Memories, Not the Moments

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I won’t beat around the bush here, raising kids is a long, thankless job. Kids are loud, obnoxious and they never listen. Kids make you lose sleep at night, they run you ragged all day long and they never run out of steam. Kids are the greatest source of contention in the house; they raise the conflict meter every chance they get and are masters at starting fights with their siblings, with other kids, _with_ mom and dad and _between_ mom and dad. Kids are always testing the boundaries.

But this is what kids are meant to do. How can we expect them to fit the boundaries of a grownup world if they haven’t first tested those boundaries and pushed outward against them? Testing those boundaries is what we refer to (later in life) as creativity, ingenuity and inspiration.

Having two fiery ginger girls of my own, I know full well how kids like to push the limits of conformity and more often then not, mom and I are pushed to our wits end. The gingers can be particularly feisty, terribly loud, anti-authoritarian, very emotional and extremely combative. While this does take it’s toll on us, we know that in many respects, these traits are going to make them very strong, independent adults one day.

So yes, raising kids is a long, thankless job… but the job is not without recompense. There are a few shinning moments in the molding of miniature human beings that make it all worthwhile. Those moments that make you breath a sigh of relief and say, “This is why we have kids!”

One such instance came for me just yesterday after a particularly trying few weeks. The youngest girl got time away on Saturday — attending a birthday party — and I thought a little time alone was due to the oldest daughter the day after. So I took her fishing. It was her first time.

It was one of those bonding moments between a parent and child that make one realize the greater purpose in life. These little bundles of evolving, growing cellular matter are just micro versions of ourselves waiting eagerly — even impatiently — to absorb all the information we can throw at them. They look up to us, want to become us, want to improve on us… they want to be “Mom and Dad 2.0”.

Biologically speaking there is likely a very good reason why we, as a species, are inclined to hold tighter to favorable memories then those that cause us pain. Memories are like photo albums; we fill them with those moments that shape and define us and those around us. We don’t tend to keep the pictures that didn’t quite turn out — the dark ones, the under developed, grainy, gritty images that make us look bad.

If you were to ask me why the last two weeks were difficult with the girls, I would be hard pressed to pinpoint one particular instance. It all just gets glazed over. But the memory of my daughter catching her first fish, one chilly spring day in her sixth year, will likely stick with both of us for as long as we live.

Raising kids is a long and thankless job, but I am loving every memory of it.

 

Adam Merrifield

 

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