Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Distance

One day while talking to my mom about Cole's temper, I mentioned how I'd been trying to help him by telling him about the temper I had as a kid. My mom said, "You had a temper when you were a kid? I don't remember that."

When I told my sisters what my mom had said, they laughed really hard.

roller skating

Recently, I was looking back through the archives on this blog, and I came across this picture of Rylan from the time we went roller skating as a family. That day is not high on our list of good family memories. In fact, thanks to a couple of complainers who shall remain nameless, it was a pretty miserable experience, and I may have declared as we left the roller rink that I was never taking the kids roller skating again. (Or was that the time we went bowling...)

This wasn't the first time I've looked at that photo since the day it was taken, but it was the first time I've looked at it and thought something besides, "That was such a rotten afternoon." Apparently the bad memories have faded enough over time that I could finally look at this picture and see how adorable Rylan is in it.

When it comes to our children, it seems like we are hard-wired to remember the good and forget the bad - given enough distance. Enough time passes, and we forget the pain of childbirth, the sleepness days and nights of infancy, and the terrible tantrums of toddlerhood. Instead, our minds hone in on the little pockets of joy and magnify them until that's all we see.

It's an amazing mind trick, and one I am very grateful for.

Two weekends ago, the Peters Family Band headed downtown for our annual bug-eating experience. Bugfest is a tradition we've enjoyed ever since moving to Raleigh, but this year because our kids' morning routine was interrupted or because they were in a grumpy mood or simply because one of them is seven, it was one of the worst days we've had in a long time.

I imagine that for awhile, I'll look at those pictures and remember first the complaining and the grumbling and the fighting and how by 3:00 that day, I had checked out as a parent because I was simply exhausted. But in time, all of that will fade, and I'll remember the fun we had daring each other to eat bugs and how scared Rylan was to go through the giant blow-up caterpillar but how he did it in the end.

And someday, one of my kids will say to me on the phone, "Your grandson is driving us crazy. We try to take him somewhere fun and all he does is complain. I remember acting just like that as a kid."

And I'll say, "You complained a lot when you were a kid? I don't remember that."

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