When I look back on my childhood, I can’t help but smile. I smile because I was lucky enough to have two wonderful, loving parents who raised my brother and I to be the responsible, well-adjusted adults we are today. (Don’t tell my brother I said that!) They raised us to be polite, hard-working, and independent. They taught us to always be thankful for what we have – yet they never let us go without anything we wanted or needed. They were supportive, encouraging, and always present. And they still are to this day.
One of my favourite childhood memories is our Sunday family drives. We would all hop in the station wagon (that’s right!) on a summer, Sunday afternoon and go for a drive. My brother and I would sit in the back seat and sing along to all the songs on my parents’ oldies cassette tapes. We knew every single word…to every single song. I’m sure we drove our parents crazy. Sometimes we’d drive to up and coming neighbourhoods and we’d oooh and aaah at the massive houses being built. Sometimes we would go out into the country and just look at the scenery. And almost always…we’d stop somewhere for ice cream. My Dad knew all the hidden places.
It was fun. It was relaxing. It was quality family time. It was…simple.
Now that I’m a Mom, I find that my husband and I are doing these same types of things with our boys…without even thinking about it. Simple things we have always enjoyed doing as a family, have now turned into habits. You might call them traditions. They’ve turned into things we just…do. We don’t even think twice about it.
Things like our Sunday night board games. Our trips to the ice cream castle after baseball or soccer. Our Mario Kart mornings on weekends. And how our backyard turns into a baseball diamond after school so the boys can hit homers like Donaldson and Tulo.
I love seeing their little faces light up when we get them a chocolate chip muffin and a frozen lemonade from Tim Hortons before hockey! Or how excited they are when we pack their bikes in the SUV to go riding on the trails. And it makes me so happy when I hear them cheer in the back seat when we spontaneously stop at a park so they can play for an hour.
These aren’t expensive things we’re doing with them. They aren’t elaborate or even that out of the ordinary. They’re just simple things that make our family happy.
Don’t get me wrong, we like to spoil them sometimes too and take them to waterparks, or to Jays games, or on fun family vacations! I mean, what parent doesn’t like spoiling their kids?! But at the end of the day, I just want them to appreciate the small, simple things in life.
And ultimately, I want them to look back on their childhood and not only remember all the things we did together as a family, but I want them to remember how much their parents LOVED spending time with them.
Even if it was just doing simple, everyday things.