…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.
My strongest childhood memories are fueled with the scents, sounds and feel of our ordinary evening routines. The taste of her spaghetti sauce that had simmered in the afternoon while I played with my blue musical elephant with the pink and white polka-dotted ears or my favorite Mrs. Beasley doll on the braided rug in the living room. The sound of Neil Diamond backing her up while she washed up the supper dishes and I wound my little plastic dolphin around the tub. The scent of the Jergen’s lotion she worked into her hands after the dishes were done and rubbed into my legs and feet after my bath. The soft scratch of the comb working the tangles out of my wet head while we watched The Muppets. The creak of the wooden chair we rocked away from the day in. The cool cotton of my blankie that I would continually thread my fingers through and lean back relaxing in to her. Secure. Snug. The comfort of a routine.
For the last six years I have tried these same things with my children and been bewildered with each bit of resistance. They fight hair brushing, nail clipping, and massage. Zuzu asks why that pig is so mean to that frog. I pull out a storybook and they proceed to either take it from me to chew on (in their early days), rascal through the reading or announce that it isn’t their favorite. The music is too loud and the lotion leaves a rash on their skin. They won’t eat the meal I prepared and beg for nuggets and yogurt in its place. Again and again I try to hand them the savored bits that sit in my heart and then I blink and realize those are my treasures not theirs. That the gift of those memories isn’t in the specifics. It’s in the feeling of comfort and routine. My mom didn’t do them because the parenting guru of the day prescribed them or because her mother did those for her. She did what came naturally, what the day called for. What she needed to do to make it through her days.
Like what I do to make it through mine. My children, they may not like The Muppets, my singing or my meatloaf. But they do love our family and our homedays on the weekends and our busy, busy weekdays. I can’t predict what pieces will stay with them any better than my mother could have planned for the ones that stayed with me. Maybe it will be the sisterly rascaling, PBS cartoons or Netflix movies with popcorn and gummies and an early love of yogurt. The annual bakery trip in the mountains when we gather our Christmas tree or the regular trips to our local park on the weekends. Maybe years from now, when they are bathing their own children the scent of that teatree soap we all use for that dang rash will come flooding back over them or they will instinctively know to not brush their girls wet tangled hair until it has dried. Regardless, I hope what they are left with is the same treasure I keep- comfort and security in knowing their home.