choosing good memories

I know a woman who has nothing good whatsoever to say about her young children. Her grown children are great -- she's so proud of how they turned out! But I've never heard her say anything but negatives about their growing up years. It's like she looks back thirty years and sees nothing but messes, tantrums, and bad behavior.

Her attitude makes me really sad. This is a hard time of life. It's busy, sweaty, stinky, and heartbreaking. There are a lot of losses and only a few wins. It's easy to look back at the day and sum it up:

  • five syrupy fingers on my front window
  • one skinned knee
  • twelve time-outs
  • three swats
  • one lost dessert
  • three million suds splashed all over the bathroom
  • one early bedtime

But that same day could also be re-told:

  • six pancakes
  • one blanket fort
  • one long bike ride
  • one picnic
  • thirteen books read
  • one healthy dinner
  • one clean son to bed

You have to make the choice--which memories do you focus on? It's about more than today. I do not want to turn into that poor woman who looks at her grown children and only sees successful adults. I want to look back and fondly see peanut butter up their cheeks and a milk mustache.  I'm gonna be a grandma who smiles and says "he reminds me of his daddy" when I'm wistful, not one who glares "he reminds me of his daddy" when scornfully shushing for age-inappropriate silence and stillness.

I don't want to get so wrapped up in their (normal) sinful, child-like behavior issues that I can't also remember the times we laughed and smiled. Because, truly, even on a day with a long list of wrongs, there are a lot of rights.