Your kids likely won’t remember the size of their childhood home, but they will remember how they felt inside of it.
I recently drove past my childhood home and pointed it out to my kids. We only live about 2 miles from the home I grew up in, but I rarely drive that route anymore. When I pointed it out, my kids thought it was so cool, and then they quietly returned to their conversations.
It’s a very modest split-level home with an acre in the back. The fence that my parents installed is still standing with the chicken wire at the bottom so our dogs wouldn’t escape. The pine trees are massive now and you can hardly see the house from the road. All of those trees we planted. Most of them were Christmas trees from my childhood. My parents bought the trees with the bulb at a local nursery and then planted them in our yard after the holidays.
As I kept driving and the kids continued with their conversations, a flood of memories filled me. Warm memories, happy memories. I started to picture the inside of that home. It was a very small home with nothing super fancy inside. No granite countertops or elaborate light fixtures. No oversized bath tubs or shiplap or flat screen tv’s. Nothing Instagram worthy.
When I was a young girl, I thought our home was huge. I could get lost in a small nook reading my picture books or spend hours in the backyard tree house my dad bought second-hand from a neighbor when I was a little girl. He rebuilt it and painted it and installed a semi-truck steering wheel so I could travel the world.
I was an only child, so my parents tore down a wall to make my bedroom one large room directly across the hall from their master bedroom. My parents didn’t care about the resell of the home, they wanted me to be cozy and comfortable. I remember waking up in that room and getting ready for school. I also remember a scary bout with pneumonia and spending days in that room.
Our rec-room was large. My parents built it as an add-on when I was in elementary school. They built it by themselves from the ground up. It had a bar and a pool table. The room was massive to me and I have so many memories in that room. Family parties, holidays, sleepovers, dinners… so many memories.
This holiday season I want to send out a simple message to parents. Your kids won’t remember the square footage of your home. They won’t remember if you rented it or owned it. They won’t know the struggle you and your partner might have discussed behind closed doors. Financial struggles. Deciding between spending money on a large birthday party or private music lessons. They won’t remember any of it.
Here’s what they will remember:
They’ll remember family dinners.
They’ll remember weekend breakfasts.
They’ll remember walks in the park.
They’ll remember praying together.
They’ll remember you wiping their tears.
They’ll remember you scaring away monsters.
They’ll remember tickle fights.
They’ll remember family game nights.
They’ll remember movies in the living room with fresh popped popcorn.
They’ll remember you tucking them in at night.
They’ll remember the love they felt radiating from you and your partner.
They’ll remember dancing in the kitchen.
They’ll remember how you made them feel.
Don’t fret over putting hundreds of dollars worth of presents under the tree. Instead focus on family traditions like playing in the snow and drinking hot chocolate. Focus on playing a game of Uno in front of the fire. Focus on intentional conversations around the dinner table. Focus on taking evening walks to look at the neighborhood Christmas lights. Focus on the love. Focus on the family.
They likely won’t remember the size of their childhood home, but they absolutely will remember how you made them feel inside of it.