407. Fond Memories

I have lots of fond memories of my childhood. It was a pretty happy childhood. I loved the place where I grew up, a big house in the woods. I loved the neighborhood baseball games, the singing in the car, the trip to Yellowstone Park…I could go on and on. I learned, at a pretty early age, that there were families that weren’t having as much fun as we were, and I felt sorry for them, but what I remember most is enjoying being who I was and having the family I had.
Of course, we remember best what we want to remember, and though I can easily conjure up memories of fights, punishments, boredom, and other features of my childhood that sound less like “good old days,” I’m a pretty happy fellow, and I think my childhood had a lot to do with that. Psychotherapists tend not to want to hear a lot about the good times we’ve had, just as podiatrists tend not to want to hear much about how good our ears feel, but I’m not in therapy right now. At least for the sake of this article, let’s say I had a happy childhood.
If you have fond memories of your childhood, you may want to make sure your children grow up to also have fond memories. The problem is, times have changed. The old swimming hole you used to like to jump into may have been filled in. Or it may be that your children would much rather go to some pool or beach, and really don’t want to have to deal with your nostalgia. Besides, the standing water you liked to splash around in may have had stuff growing in it that wasn’t too healthy for you.
From what I know of my parents’ childhoods, they did not struggle to make sure we had the same kind. My parents didn’t go to Disneyland as children; there was no Disneyland back then, and I suspect that their parents couldn’t have taken them to California, anyway. But television (another new thing) had gotten my sister and me to want to go to Disneyland, and my parents took us there. They were trying to give us a chance to have fun, and maybe build fond memories.
My wife and I took our children to Disney World. We all enjoyed it. Of course, we each had our individual favorite parts. I liked “If You Had Wings” and “It’s a Small World.” Lara, my younger daughter, wanted to go on Space Mountain, and had to be accompanied by an adult. Neither my wife nor I wanted to go on that, so we flipped a coin. Space Mountain may be one of Lara’s fond memories, but it’s not one of mine.
I’ve sort of danced around my main point in this article. My main point is that we may not be able to neatly package all of our fond memories and hand them down to our children. For all we know, they may grow up to get nostalgic about video games and Chuck E. Cheese. But I’m not worried. They’ll also remember feeling loved and cared for. Neither Chuck E. Cheese nor Mickey Mouse can hold a candle to that.

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