Something I read: Parenting Starts Now

Parenting Starts Now - Hither and Thither-3

Yesterday, I dropped off the registration application for Hudson to go to Kindergarten. Children who may as well had beards for how much older they seemed to me rushed by in backpacks, hurrying into elementary classrooms, and I just couldn’t believe my little guy is almost ready to go, too. You can’t help but occasionally wish some time would pass faster—when you’re in the throws of it all—and yet, standing at the school’s periphery, I wanted to go back tell the new mom in New York not to dare!

Alas, this is still just the beginning! (Thank goodness.)

It all made me think of something lovely my friend Raluca wrote a few years ago. She agreed to let me share it…

My daughter is five years old now. She just started kindergarten.

And it has occurred to me that as amazing and challenging and inspiring as parenthood has been thus far, it really all only begins now.

Yes, the past five years have built a great foundation. She can walk, talk, potty, say please and thank you, dress herself, write her name, pour a glass of milk. All crucial things, of course.

But now, from now on, she will not only learn, she will remember.

She will really remember.

She will take elements of the every day from here on in and keep them with her forever. She will develop her sense of self, her sense of others, and her sense of the world around her, and it will stay with her, like an imprint on her mind. She will see things and taste flavors and visit places and then revisit them often, long after she has left. She will hear our words and see our actions and sense our emotions, and they will be more crucial than anything we have done thus far…more amazing, more challenging, more inspiring.

Because she will remember.

So what do I want her to remember?

I want her to remember Taco Tuesdays. I want her to remember after-school ice cream trips. I want her to remember sitting in the backseat of mommy’s car with the sunroof open and the music turned up loud. I want her to remember noisy, boisterous dinners with her family. I want her to remember the genuine joy in our faces when she bounds down the stairs in the morning. I want her to remember baking pumpkin loaves. I want her to remember sitting down at the kitchen table to do her homework every night. I want her to remember the odd time-out and how it made her feel to get it. I want her to remember the kids who were nice to her on the playground. I want her to remember the kids that weren’t so nice. I want her to remember how she reacted to both, how they made her feel. I want her to remember days at the beach and Friday movie nights and reading in bed with a flashlight.

And it’s my job to help her remember all that and more.

It’s my job to amaze and challenge and inspire.

It’s my job to create the memories and moments she will look back on when she has a child of her own.

And now, five years in, I feel like I am just getting to work.

I’m going to be thinking about that question myself and would love to hear from others:

What would you like your children to remember? 

P.S. Hudson at 4-1/2 and how to talk to little girls.

Post excerpted “Parenting Starts Now,” from What Would Gwyneth Do? by Raluca State.

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