Years ago, when my first child was very little, I decided that I wanted to do everything I could to make my children’s lives magical. I don’t mean in material ways or with things like trips to Disneyland (though I would love to do that with them at least once).
It’s just that looking back at my own childhood, I couldn’t really remember very many truly happy, silly moments. I had a few flashes — feeding the ducks with my mother or the time she put on a helmet and a blanket like a superhero and acted like a crazy hunchback on my new moped — but I could count them on one hand (and have fingers left over). And that sort of happy memory really takes so little work.
It’s just a few minutes of silliness, a short walk and talk at dusk, a bottle of bubbles on a windy day… these little things make memories that make up the patchwork of a happy childhood.
Sure, that’s not all it takes. We need to keep them safe and happy and healthy and all the biggies. But those little moments go an awful long way.
A long time ago I set a goal for myself to try to do something magical with my kids every day. There are plenty of days where we don’t meet that goal, but I like having it as a challenge.
Last night’s magic was #4 on my list of ways to make the day magical from yesterday. I had just a little ice cream left and decided to make the most of it. I had the kids clear the table and then I put down 3 dish towels, one in front of each child. I scooped 2 little scoops of ice cream on a saucer for each child and kept them out of sight. Then I told the kids, "There are two rules for dessert tonight — you can’t make a mess, and you can’t use your hands."
Victoria (who’s almost 11 and nearing that age of disliking making a fool of herself) looked skeptical. Jack (who’s 5 and can just be argumentative) looked defiant. Both started to protest and I told them they didn’t have to do it my way if they didn’t want to. Anna (who’s 9 and loves silliness) broke into a huge grin and couldn’t wait to start. The other two caught her enthusiasm.
My three big kids happily licked and laughed their way through dessert, which took a surprising amount of time with no hands. :) Victoria announced that it made a little ice cream go a long way.
It didn’t really take any extra time or effort to serve ice cream on saucers with silly rules. It did lead to a lot of smiles (and some funny pictures) though. Hopefully, when my kids look back on their childhoods they will have more than a handful of memories that make them smile. I know I have a lot of memories of parenthood that are magical, which is awfully nice too.