Once upon a time, not so long ago actually, I was the little girl sitting on a stool in my Mom’s kitchen. Fingers ready for cookie dough or glue or whatever else was at the ready, eagerly anticipating whatever magical activity was planned for that specific days entertainment. My mother filled up my “childhood memories book” (can you see it? It’s leather-bound and HUGE with filled up pages plastered in good smells, family traditions, crafts, play time, and leaf piles) with memories that have shaped me and molded me and given me a solid sense of home that will never go away. We made messes. We made food. We made fires.
I discovered how the inside of a pumpkin feels. Why hot chocolate tastes so good. How much more fun card games can be next to a roaring fire. That gingerbread houses are serious, real deal, architecture. I staked a claim over traditional Thanksgiving recipes and learned how to make all the family Christmas cookies. I can literally feel the smell of the Christmas Tree Farm, the crunch of cold ground, the way my dogs used to bark and run around, the sound of the machine that shook the extra needles off our 12+ foot trees.
I’ve got to fill up that big book for my girls now. It’s so important for me to give these two little lives a book of their own, a sense of family and connectedness that shakes them to their core. I want them to know the beauty in tradition, the joy felt in coming home, and the magic we experience through the change in seasons, through the turmoil of growing up. I want to show them the wonder of togetherness and why it’s ok to miss summer but fall in love with fall. Basically, I want to channel my own Mom and show my girls what she showed me.
I’ll claim to be a fair-weather child. Born in the spring, I’ll tell you I hate rain and snow, and cold and ice. But if I really think about it- and you know I do- I actually love all of those things: rain = rain boots and cozy socks and puddles and inside things like baking and soup. Cold = sweaters, comfort, hot cider, tea, flannel and fleece. Snow = snow days, bonus family time, roaring fires, mountains of blankets, hot chocolate, Christmas, Santa. Ice = skating and icicles, and snow-made slushies and roads too slick to drive.
My girls won’t remember how clean our carpets were or the magic reappearing laundry piles on our kitchen table. They won’t care to remember the way I like the dining room table turned this way or that way. They won’t care about what happened at the doctor yesterday or that we forgot to buy milk at the store this morning.
They’ll remember all the specials. All the traditions. All the decorations.
And just for the record, Lilly has never been more proud of herself than she was after “decorating” our house for Halloween. Every trinket we pulled out of the Halloween box blew her away. She carried each item around, gentle as glass, finding the perfect spot for a ceramic pumpkin, or deciding which door Mr. Skeleton should hang from. She was so proud, in fact, that I almost went to K-Mart to buy a huge blowup halloween monstrosity for the yard. But only almost 😉
These are our “Frankenstein Lights” (Lilly says Swankstinfine). It’s funny because Brandon put these up on the banister, then we ate dinner, put Lilly to bed, and sat down on the couch together- I glanced at him and said, “It kinda feels like Christmas” and he said, “I was thinking the exact same thing.” Lights are magic.
Those hands! I can’t even handle it.
So when I’m tired and frustrated, and ready to hole up on the couch and pout like a child, I imagine this figurative book that’s sitting on the table ready to be filled. Open to a blank page that I need to plaster with fun and experience and learning.
This specific tired day, I pulled out the big guns with new spider cupcake molds we got from my mother in law. It was raining. It was cold. And I was feeling oh so blah. Brandon left for work and said to Lilly, “I want you to have the best day ever with Mommy, Ok?” And do you know what she said? She said, “Daddy, dis not gonna be da best day ever because it’s a rainy day.” Well I’ll be damned.
It was going to be the best day ever. We made spider cupcakes with eyeballs galore. Ate entirely too much raw cake batter. Then ate entirely too many decorated cupcakes. It wasn’t the most nutritious best-day-ever but you win some you lose some. We made a castle fort out of waffle blocks. Revelled in the magic of gigantic five foot Giraffe’s that show up on your doorstep from Uncle’s who live far away. We watched planet Earth. We played. I filled the bathtub up to her ears and let her “swim with the sharks”.
Her favorite way to sleep… unfortunately, her helmet get’s in the way. Poor baby.
So maybe their book is being filled up a little more quietly these days. While not SCREAMING EXCITEMENT, it’s gently whispering, “We’re loving life over here…can’t you tell?” And I’m cool with that. We should all be pretty cool with that.