~Janet’s Blog

Do you have favorite memories that you love looking back on? The kind that just warm your heart? Have you ever noticed that some of the most special warm fuzzy moments are the ones you made as a kid? Remarkable moments?

Seriously, just stop and remember. What memories give you warm fuzzies inside? My bet is these memories happened while you were with someone. This moment was special and made its home in your heart because someone special was with you. It’s a special place you can visit whenever you want inside your heart.

Oh give me a home where all the cows roam

One of my favorite memories is visiting my Uncle Fritzy’s farm in Snohomish, Washington. I remember when he showed me how to call the cows in for their lunch, “Come-boss, come-boss!” we’d yell. Watching the cows meander back to the barn for their afternoon “smackerals” was magical to me. I enjoyed his two dogs, especially the friendly springer spaniel. The huge water pump outside was as big as me.

We didn’t visit Fritzy’s farm all that often, but the warm memories I made there with him have filled my heart and stuck with me all these years.

Those memories not only travel with me wherever I go, they are part of who I am. I have found great joy in sharing my memories at the farm with my family and taking them to “Uncle Fritzy’s Farm” so they too can see the water pump and where his cows roamed.

Focus on spending time, not $pending

When I look back on these memories, one thing stands out like a firefly on a dark night. Nothing about them was expensive, filled with entertainment and spending sprees. Making them didn’t cost my uncle anything but his time. His time. Uncle Fritz spent time with me. One thing I have always known is that he loved spending that time with me.

You can create treasured memories with kids you care about, just as easily. Special occasions don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Just make them deliberate. Setting aside time to truly be present with your child makes them feel cherished. There is nothing more valuable—or memorable—than that.

Seize the day

This summer, set aside time to make some memories with your kids. Don’t just be near them. Truly invest yourself and experience the moment together. Most importantly, communicate clearly to your children (no matter what their age) that whatever it is you are doing, it is you doing it with them that makes it special to you. If you make that message clear, they will cherish those moments forever. It won’t even matter what it is you are doing.

I am going on an adventure!

Be like Bilbo Baggins, from The Hobbit, when he ran out of the Shire while announcing his plans to his neighbors. His big moment of leaving his home led to many more big moments along the road. So, set aside time this summer to go somewhere and do something different away from the everyday work, chores, etc. Go camping. Visit a National Park. Ride a ferry, a cable car, a bus or a buggy. Get outside your usual world and go on an adventure together. Even experiencing something just once will last forever in your child’s memories and yours, too.

Time does fly

There are times when you are just exhausted from the daily grind of work, housekeeping, and being a responsible parent. On those days, raising your kids may feel like a job that will last forever. But you know what? It won’t. You only have so many summers at home with them before you are congratulating them on their high school graduation. Then off to college, work, or the service they go. It’s really that fast.

So, parents, enjoy your summers with your kids, as much as possible. Turn your swim lessons into a picnic event with friends afterward. Explore nature, go on walks, check out local parks and art displayed throughout your city. There are so many things you can do to make memories that don’t cost anything but maybe a little gas and your time.

Partner teachable moments with mighty fun

There are so many things we have to teach our kids. Take the time to think about and make a list of what you want your kids to be able to do on their own. It’s never too early to start thinking about that. Give yourself the time to plan out these learning experiences so that they are fun for you to teach and for them to learn. The more fun you pour into the experience, the more positive an experience it will be for your teen, young adult, and adult child to fondly remember throughout their lives.

Invite them to experience things you’re doing anyway. Even simple things like these create lasting memories:

  • Wash clothes while dancing to fun music
  • Change the oil in the car
  • Change a tire
  • Sew a button while listening to their favorite audio book

Whether it is a trip to DC or a weekly ritual of playing Go Fish! after enjoying a popsicle, turn these times into memories makers with your kids. The fun experiences you have with your children this summer will last their whole lifetime. These are the memories that they will not only carry with them forever but pass them on to their kids. What a gift you can give them.

So take the ordinary and make it extraordinary just by pouring yourself into the moment. You and your kids will be so glad you did.