For most parents, their kids are the center of their universe. However fulfilled you might be professionally, or in your relationship with your partner, nothing comes even close to that special feeling that your child’s mere presence can give you, even if they are at their most maddening! However, before you know it, the kids have grown up and flown the nest, leaving you with empty arms and an empty heart! Right?
Well, not necessarily. Yes, change is a way of life, and yes, someday the kids will be busy with their own lives. But your life as a parent need not be a vacuum when that happens. Create good memories with your kids, and cherish them when they are no longer around you all the time. And not only for you, these memories are also something for your kids to hold on to as they make their way in the big wide world—something to ground them and remind them about the importance of family amidst the glitz of the material world.
Besides, fond memories are also great healers. Not only do they heal loneliness and aching hearts, but can also be an excellent way to patch up rifts between family members, or draw families closer when they have been drifting apart under the pressures of modern lifestyles or ideological differences. This is something social media, despite all its shortcomings, has accomplished quite successfully. Family and friends’ groups sharing memories and pictures have definitely re-knit bonds of love that seemed to be unraveling, and thanks to platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook, family members living in different parts of the world are able to stay in constant touch.
And memories are also your emotional cushion—a way of reminding you and your kids how much you mean to each other and a means of reaffirming your love and faith in your family. There are so many ways in which you can create wonderful memories with your kids, to warm your heart and make life much more joyful
‘A picture is worth a thousand words’, they say, and it’s perfectly true. All of us know from experience that looking over old photographs is one of the greatest joys ever. They bring back forgotten moments and strength your bonds with your loved ones. So, get cracking on a family project with old pictures, and click some fresh ones for good measure. It could be a family album, or a wall collage, or a pinboard. Nowadays, going digital is another fabulous option available. With readily accessible user-friendly software it is child’s play to put together digital albums and collages to save precious memories that are easily shared with your kids even if they are half a world away from you in terms of physical distance.
I’ll never forget the day when, as a rebellious teenager, I was cleaning out old family papers, grumbling to myself all the time, and suddenly came upon the Baby Record books my parents had created for my siblings and me. Turning them over, reading what Dad and Mom had written as we passed each new milestone—the first movement, the first smile, crawling, walking, teething, speaking—and a host of tiny, precious incidents, along with the pictures, was the most beautiful experience. Mom too grew sentimental as we turned them over together, and the atmosphere of animosity in the home was a thing of the past! Recently, I had a similar experience (from the opposite side) with my own ‘difficult’ teenager when I left her Baby Record book out for her to discover. Like I said, memories are healing and life-affirming stuff!
This one’s a no-brainer in the era of travel mania, but worth mentioning nevertheless. Family getaways not only (literally) re-energize you by ‘getting you away’ from the daily routine, but also make sure that the demands of your work schedule that usually eat into the time you should be spending with your kids are kept at bay (actually, not completely true in this era of cell phones and laptops, but still, valid to a great extent). Do fun stuff together—chill out at the beach/pool, go trekking, or simply laze around in a hammock (or even in front of the TV if you prefer, as long as you are together and having fun), and take lots of pictures to cherish later on. The vacations need not be expensive. The emphasis needs to be on sharing quality time and bonding as a family.
Games And Hobbies
How do you make memories when the kids are snowed under landslides of schoolwork, and Dad and Mom are running from pillar to post, trying to strike a balance between professional and home life? Well, fifteen minutes before bedtime—three or four times a week or weekends—is all it takes. Take up a hobby—maybe jigsaws, or crossword puzzles, or Sudoku, or a craft project—something everyone can enjoy. Or else, a simple game—Ludo, or Snakes and Ladders, or cards. And each time you see that game or puzzle, even when you no longer live in the same house, will bring back the memories and the feeling of warmth.
Festivals And Special Occasions
Festivals, anniversaries and birthdays have traditionally been times to rejuvenate family bonds, and there is no reason why they cannot do so in future as well. The details of celebrations may change with changing times, but the emotions and values associated with them need not. Taking out the time to add a personal touch to cleaning and decorating the house, be it for a birthday or for a festival, preparing presents (which don’t have to be expensive, just creative and personal), making favourite foods, cutting the cake, eating and praying together—it all comes together to create fond memories for a lifetime!