I never imagined all the ways that becoming a parent would make me reflect on my own life. Here is yet another.
As the first child my dad had a lot of time to spend with me. Even after my sister was born my mom says he spent more of his evenings with me and she spent them with my sister. I have memories of us reading books and laying on our backs while we counted to a million (obviously I hadn't mastered counting yet...) I loved all the time I spent with my dad before bed. I think he must have too, as my mom reports that he often fell asleep in my room and she would have to come find him. Of all the things that I remember, one of my favorite memories will always be of my dad singing to me.
My dad knows a lot of songs and many he could even play on the piano. I was definitely a sucker for "Puff, the Magic Dragon." But my favorite song was "the blue song" which was really his mashed up version "We love you, Conrad" from the musical "Bye, Bye Birdie." He changed "Conrad" to "Erin" and invented some other creative lyrics to make the song about me. I loved when he sang me that song and I still love thinking about it today.
Brandon created a cd for our girls and I have been listening to it for weeks. The music is about children, about parents' love for children and at the end there are several lullaby themed songs. Although Billy Joel's Lullabye is sad in many ways, there is a line that really resonates with me: "Someday your child may cry/ And if you sing this lullabye/ Then in your heart/ There will always be a part of me."
As I was listening to that song today I thought about my dad and "the blue song." All that time that my dad invested in me is not lost. Those are memories that I cherish; those are precious moments that formed me as a daughter and a mother. That line reminds me how important it is for me to make time for my beautiful girls. I hope that when they have their own children they will remember small but important things about our family. And when they do, it will be like a small part of me is present with them, just as a part of my dad (and mom too!) is always with me as I parent.
I am not naive. I know that I cannot manufacture these memories; I do not know what it is that will touch my daughters. But I hope to become the type of parent who gives their children thousands of memories to choose from.
What childhood memories or events do you hope to pass on to your children?