I can tell you from experience that kids won’t remember the gifts, the name brand items, and the super expensive outings. Kids hold on to a lot more, and it isn’t necessarily the things we think they will hold on to.
If you’ve been a reader for a while you will know my mom passed away when I was 16 years old. My father had been absent since I was about 6 or 7, and once she passed away it was a really tough time for me. As of September 2015 it will have been 14 years since my mom passed away, and although I miss her terribly every single day – My eyes have been really opened from the whole experience.
I see kids now being showered with gifts, put in sports or classes 6/7 days a week, wearing the latest and greatest while parent’s aren’t really doing so well financially and I always smile but it makes me think. See, we aren’t rich. My husband works his butt off to give us all we have, I now have a decent income from blogging and previously I made a bit of money working from home as a Customer Care rep for a Cloth Diaper company, so although there are tough times we always get by – but my kids? Never go without. They aren’t in classes or showered with the latest and greatest, they spend a ton of time at home, outside in the backyard when the weather is permitting and they are happy. Happy, Healthy, Well taken care of and well loved children.
Sure, I know a lot of kids enjoy extra activities and it’s great for them. Don’t get me wrong my kids have swimming, soccer and gymnastics (once a week during the seasons) and they absolutely love it, but the rest of the time? They get to just be kids. They get to play, have fun, go outside, play with friends/each other, hang out with us whenever they want. It works for our family. I know, I know – what works for my family won’t work for everyone’s, believe me I KNOW. But – can I be honest for a minute?
When my mom passed away I didn’t remember all the money she spent taking me places, all the stuff she bought me, or any material things – I remember her. Spending time with her. She didn’t have much money, but I too never went without. During the last few years of her life I quit school to stay home with her, keep her company during her treatments and we’d laugh. We’d enjoy each other, hang out, go walk around the mall. But it’s foggy – all the trips we took to zoos, all the things she bought me during those final years to make up for her feeling guilty she was sick and the end was near. I don’t remember any of it. I remember being so happy, but also so sad that my time with her was coming to an end. But anything else? I could have lived without. I didn’t learn anything from gifts, or classes, I didn’t take anything with me when she left from any of it.
The earliest memories I have from my childhood were of me outside playing, with my friends.. Being a kid. Playing in mud, skipping, taking my dogs for walks, all of that is what I remember. She didn’t smother me and keep me so close that it was weird or like I was different, she let me be a kid and I hope to always do that with my kids.
So, I just wanted to make a post to share – that you CAN be present, without the presents. You can make a difference by just simply – being there. They will remember. So while you may see a family not throwing their kids in all these activities, doing all these outrageous things that cost an arm and a leg – remember; It’s not always about those things. It’s about love, happiness and letting kids be kids. Giving kids the moon is all fine and wonderful, there’s nothing wrong with giving what you can if you can, but there also isn’t anything wrong with doing things differently and just – being a family. They’ll remember that.