If you ask me today to take a trip down memory lane to my childhood and share three of my fondest memories, it would be visiting my native place in the summers and eating my grandma’s sweets, receiving hugs from my parents when I was hurt and playing with friends till the sun set. The common thread connecting these three memories is the emotion of happiness and the sense of feeling wanted. If you ask me to name a few toys and types of nice clothes from my early childhood, then honestly, I would struggle.
I guess this would be true for most of us right? We smile when we remember our teachers, funny incidents from school, childhood games or storytimes with parents/grandparents. Rarely would we say, “my best childhood memory was using the most expensive pencil in class.”
As a working mother to a feisty toddler, I often used to find myself giving in to my toddler’s demands for fancy clothes and toys. This was partly because I felt that my little one deserves more to make up for the time I was away, partly because I felt that my child needed possessions that were similar to his peers and also because I felt enjoyment for a child lies in different material possessions.
But one day I heard my child describe to his maternal grandmother that he really enjoyed the trip to the mall because his parents were with him and not because of the new car we bought him. That’s when I realized that I would provide my child with experiences and memories rather than expensive material possessions as:
I want my child to feel protected and safe- at all times
Let me give you a small example. I remember my parents switching on AllOut mosquito repellent every evening, without fail, throughout my childhood. It was indicative of my parents’ desire to protect me and my brother from mosquitoes. My parents never really had to say it, but the very fact that they made sure that we had AllOut around the house was proof that they cared for our health and safety. It is this feeling of safety that I want to provide for my child.
I want my child to remember the feelings and the little things
When I was a child, I would wonder why my parents never took us out to restaurants often or gave us expensive Diwali presents when we asked for them. But today I realize and appreciate the value of fresh, home cooked food and the togetherness as a family on Diwali. Clothes and exotic food are usually forgotten, but not the fond memories. Though as parents we don’t deprive our child of new clothes, gifts and sweets, we subtly also emphasize the emotional aspects just like my parents did. I can, even now, truly appreciate when they woke up early to get us ready for school, helped us prepare well for our exams or even changed the refill of our AllOut so that we were never left unprotected.
I think I would be a very satisfied and happy parent if my child grows up with and appreciates these little happy memories!#babycare