Monday, May 16, 2011

Don't miss today

For birthdays and even Hallmark-days like Mother’s Day, I’ve always preferred handmade cards to store-bought ones. There’s nothing like seeing the handwriting of my sweet little ones. Last week for Mother’s Day all three made special cards for me and even though two are teenagers I love that they kept up the tradition of homemade cards.

Michael didn’t include a drawing this year, but he hand-wrote a letter, reminding me of some of his favorite memories of times we’ve spent together. He included the brunch we had at Denny’s after he passed his driving test and his first ride on a roller coaster. He also reminded me of the times I’d let him open a Hot Wheels car at the checkout lane so he could drive it on the belt as it moved the food toward the cashier.

He mentioned one of the years I was his Sunday School teacher, which, from my recollection, was a disaster. But his memory was of the day I let the whole class make paper airplanes and throw them in the parking lot.

He remembered a time we were on a weekly shopping trip to Sam’s and I bought him a Star Wars book, “just for fun.”

When he was four, I tried to take him to meet Bob and Larry of VeggieTales fame. But it was way over in Marietta and my directions were lousy and I got so dang lost. People, this was before the days of cell phones – and a GPS? What was that? I remember being very, very angry (I don’t do lost well) but Michael remembered it as a fun outing.

He also remembered the treats I’d get for him after a doctor’s appointment. Our pediatrician’s office was near a QuikTrip, and after his check-ups I’d let Michael pick a candy from the bottom shelf – the $.05 variety. “Bottom shelf lollypops were the best!” he wrote.

It was a dear letter, and after I finished crying, I realized there was a common thread to his memories: most were made on simple, regular ol’ days.

The toys we’ve bought him weren’t mentioned (except the Hot Wheels, of course). The trips we’ve taken weren’t mentioned, although I know he enjoyed them. Lots of money was not required. Hours of preparation were not necessary.  His favorite memories were made while I thought we were simply shopping or going to church or eating brunch.

If you’re in the child-raising trenches, I hope this encourages you to realize today could be one of your child’s favorite days. Spend those extra five minutes reading together or cuddling on the couch. Let your little guy push the cart in the store (this will take a good dose of Motrin and diet Coke, I realize). If he offers to help you cook, let him. Yes, it will take longer and yes, you’ll be inconvenienced and yes, you’ll probably have to clean up a mess or two (or twelve). But today’s memories could wind up in your 18th Mother’s Day card. And trust me, you wouldn’t want to miss that.

Michael-man, I love you, too.