Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Space to Grow

As I watched Henry and Audrey play together this morning, it occurred to me- Audrey is old enough to start retaining some of her childhood memories... memories that she is making now. I can remember things from as far back as around 2 years old... will she? What kinds of things have happened to her in her long three years that will stick with her for the next ten, twenty, thirty? Will the majority of the things that stick be good memories? Happy ones? (Will her recent trip to the dentist be an event she remembers because of the anxiety and stress... or will that just be my memory of it?)

THEN I started to wonder- am I doing enough to make her childhood memorable? Henry's? Do they have enough going on in their lives to create that formula for joyful, happy, peaceful experiences that will last them on in to the more rigid adult years? To be honest, this morning wasn't the first time these questions have wandered through my mind. I actually wonder about the quality and worthiness of the environment I've created for them all the time. It's what drew me to the book, Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne, M.Ed., and all three of Amanda Blake Soule's books (and her blog, for that matter).

I've always been uncomfortable (for my family, anyway) with "lots," meaning lots of noise, lots and lots of toys, lots of activities, lots of destinations, lots and lots and lots. I really, truly believe in the motto, "Less is More," and I haven't been let down by it... at least, so far. Truthfully, my biggest parenting insecurities include worrying that we might be a little too minimalistic, and that we might need to amp up, say, the out-of-home activities a little... then I remind myself that my oldest is only three, and there will be ample opportunity for that soon. Very soon.

For now, though, I have settled on a bit of a conclusion, if you will, to my rambling worries about creating a memorable childhood for my Littles. I have decided that my focus needs to be not on specific opportunities to create individual memories, but on the vibe of the childhood experience, and what they will be able to build on the foundation created therein. Creating specific, lasting, single memories can be reserved for those special events and activities that will come along to spice things up here and there. As for the day-to-day stuff, I think my job- for now- is to provide the basic ingredients, and let them cook up the dish du jour... it has been working for us so far...

Besides, there is something to be said about the freedom that comes from an uncluttered, unscheduled, natural space to grow, both literally and figuratively. With these two, their presence seems to take up all the room in the world, and they deserve nothing less than the freedom to fill it with whatever they can dream up.

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