My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness

 

Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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My family
My family

As the theme of this month’s Carnival of Natural Parenting is childhood memories, I thought I’d share with you a few of my memories. As 2012 draws to a close, I have started to reflect on the events of the past year, focusing on more recent memories, yet some of my childhood memories almost seem as close as memories of 2012, perhaps because they are wedged so deeply in my unconscious mind that they shall dwell with me always. This is the magic of precious childhood memories; they last a lifetime and continue to impact so deeply on my life now.
Since becoming a mother I have realised how significant my own upbringing is in the way I parent my son, memories like a guide shining a light into the darkness of child-rearing, with all its questions, uncertainties and conflicting directions. So, here’s the list;

A joyful childhood
A joyful childhood!

My earliest memories
My very earliest memory is when I was about two years old. I have a vague memory of being in a pushchair in a park in Bolton (England), where I lived for the first few years of my life. I remember my mum opening a gate and pushing me through it. I know my mum was there, but am unsure if anyone else was. Like most of my very early memories, my mum is simply present in them, probably because she was always close to me in my early years, a stay-at-home mum caring for four children. In the 1970s and 1980s it was far more common for mums to be at home caring for their young children, though I know my own mother would have taken extended maternity leave even if she been a mum in a later decade, because she is so maternal and absolutely dedicated to her family, loving children so much. Her life as a mother and a teacher has very much centred on children. If I have inherited just a little of her dedication I shall be eternally grateful.

First meeting of mother and daughter
First meeting of mother and daughter

How my mother’s presence impacts on my own parenting choices
My mother’s utter dedication to her children, in offering her time as a stay-at-home mother, is one reason I always envisaged being a stay-at-home mum myself; I just couldn’t imagine it any other way, it simply feels the natural and right place to be. Coming from a strongly maternal family, where many of my female relatives have stayed at home, to return to work when my children are young simply feels alien. Saying that, I find I need some other outlet in my life as well as my home, which is where my writing and tutoring come in, and where I differ slightly from my mother who focused purely on her children for many years.

Me and my pushchair
Me and my pushchair

However, I would not be doing any home working if I didn’t have my mum to care for my son when I am occupied writing or tutoring. I know I am very fortunate to have this childcare option, which has ensured my son has the frequent presence of his grandmother, a presence many children, for a whole host of reasons, do not have. Without this presence I would stay at home full-time with my son.
My favourite memories
The list could just go on and on, I have so many, revealing again how fortunate I am as I was brought up in a secure, happy home, provided with so many opportunities and rich experiences which have made me who I am today. Here is a sample;

In the beach hut in Abersoch
At the beach hut in Abersoch, enjoying a picnic

- Endless days spent playing on the beach in Abersoch, North Wales, with my cousins. These days seem to stretch out forever, as so many childhood memories do, when the markers of time, the days, months and years, were as yet insignificant and not yet marked. At times I long for this sense of timelessness to return, to yet again just be without considering the future or the past. Time also seems to whizz by now, even more so since having my own child, as time is marked by his birthdays and development.

 

One of our many family holidays in Abersoch, enjoying long days on the beach
One of our many family holidays in Abersoch, enjoying long days on the beach

- Family Christmas’ at my Nanna’s small terrace house in Bolton; a feeling of warmth and cosy days eating delicious homemade food, opening stocking and presents, playing with my cousins and brothers and putting on Christmas nativity plays for my adult relatives.

A family Christmas
A family Christmas
One of our many nativity plays at Nanna's house
One of our many nativity plays at Nanna's house

- Long summer holidays in France, caravanning with my family, visiting my eldest brother who worked as a rep for a holiday company. Delicious French food, warm sunny days on French beaches and in the mountains, and many hours spent playing on the campsite.

In France
In France

- Caring for my rabbit, Flopsy, and my guinea pigs, which helped foster my love of animals, as well as awareness of how much work having pets can be. When my rabbit died my neighbour and I, another rabbit-loving girl my age, stood holding hands in the garden above Flopsy’s grave, crying our hearts out, my first real taste of death. I loved to call him a ‘her’, to fit with Flopsy from Beatrix Potter. His passing taught me how life is precious and can be short-lived.
- Performing in dancing shows and pantomimes, which I absolutely loved; getting all dressed up, my mum making my costumes, being with my friends, all the jazz and glitz and glamour, and that feeling just before performing on stage.
- Excitement as my cousins, Shaun and Lisa, who lived what appeared a lifetime away (in fact, only two hours!), appeared after what felt like an endless counting of the weeks, to share Easter and Bonfire Night with us each year. We made Easter monsters out of Easter egg boxes, gorged ourselves on Easter eggs, and performed plays in-front of our parents. At Bonfire Night we enjoyed the magic of sparklers and tiny family fireworks, which my Dad lit in the pumpkin, whose zigzag smile face lit up with flames, as we sat by the fire eating Lancashire hot-pot and cheese pie, two of my favourites. When my cousins left I cried my heart out, chasing their car until it was out of sight.
- Writing and receiving hand-written letters, now a hobby and kind of communication relegated mainly to the past. I loved writing letters, as well as stories, which I would make in up in my head, then write down, spending hours and hours in my own make believe world.

I loved writing, just as I do today!
I loved writing, just as I do today!
A budding writer!
A budding writer!
Another family picnic; we are a food orientated family who love the outdoors
Another family picnic; we are a food orientated family who love the outdoors

- Birthdays in some unusual, foreign places, nearly always away from home as my birthday falls in the summer holidays, such as having a Mars Bar cake in a lay-by in the caravan in France and testing out my new roller-skates next to the busy highway.
- My Dad reading bedtime stories to me and my brothers for many years, before saying our prayers and being tucked in bed. A warm, cosy, secure feeling of being treasured and loved unconditionally.

Celebrating my birthday
Celebrating my birthday

A few of the childhood memories I hope Ewan will carry with him into adulthood
Ewan is only two and a half years old, yet I hope a few of the many amazing adventures we’ve already been on, and a few of the more everyday events, will impact on him as he grows up, and be carried somewhere with him into adulthood, just as mine have. Perhaps the most significant is a feeling of security and love, of belonging. With this, some rich experiences, such as camping and exploring in the woods, walking up Scottish mountains, our holiday to Bali, trips on steam trains, watching fireworks at our village display, family bonfires, his first mountain bothy trip (staying in a mountain hut overnight), trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, getting our first dog, Hector, and taking him on many walks.
The list could go on; if it is like mine it will be a mix of those special days which fix in our minds due to how magically different they are, as well as more common events which become lodged in our minds precisely because they are so routine and normal, yet create the unique childhood we experienced.
As long as Ewan takes with him a little of the unconditional love we have for him, which will contribute to him developing a secure, positive sense of self, I do not mind what he remembers and what he forgets. If he carries with him just a little of the joy his life has brought his parents he shall be a very happy person as he makes his own way in the world.
If he becomes a father one day, I hope his memories act as guides, illuminating what can appear a very uncertain activity, bringing up children. My memories serve as beacons of light each and every day, they ground me, reminding me of who I am and who I want my child to be. I know I’d be lost without them, one reason I try so hard to provide Ewan with just a little of the richness of my own childhood.

My Dad carrying me, just as I now do with Ewan
My Dad carrying me, just as I now do with Ewan

 

 

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Childhood Memories of Peace, Support, Joy, and Love — Amber at Heart Wanderings wants to make sure the majority of the memories that her children have as a part of their family are ones that are positive and help support the amazing people that they are now and will become as adults.
  • Hand Made Baby Books — Destany at They Are All of Me talks about why baby books are important to her for preserving memories of her childrens first years, and shows how she made one by hand for each child.
  • Can your childhood memories help you keep your cool?Here’s To A Boring Year uses memories of being a child to keep her on the path to peaceful parenting.
  • Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about her own childhood memories, and what she hopes her daughter will remember in the future.
  • Snapshots — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings reflects on the ways our childhood memories appear to us, and hopes her own daughter’s childhood will be one she remembers as being happy and fulfilled.
  • What makes the perfect parent? — In a guest post on Natural Parents Network, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog reflects on camp follow and camp no-follow…
  • In My Own Handwriting — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about her journals and the hope that they will be able to keep her stories alive even if she isn’t able to.
  • Candlelight, fairylight, firelight — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud re-discovers the ingredients for bringing magic to life, especially at Christmas.
  • Making Memories (or) How We Celebrate Christmas — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about creating new memories at Christmas, and the joy their adventures bring to her whole family.
  • The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares why she puts pen to paper every day to record more than just her experiences as a mother and her daughter’s experiences as a child. Jennifer looks at the importance of capturing feelings and emotions that accompany the experience.
  • Dredged up — Kenna at Million Tiny Things has been forced to recount childhood memories at bedtime, due to the failure of her middle-aged imagination. She resists, of course.
  • Crafting Memories — Handmade is what makes the holidays special for Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs, and she wants to create the same connection with her daughters that she remembers with her mother and grandmother.
  • My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness Stone Age Parent shares the impact of her childhood memories on her life as a parent today, listing some of her many rich childhood memories and how they now act as beacons of light helping her in the complex, often confusing world of child-rearing.
  • 10 Ways I Preserve Memories for My Children — From video interviews to time capsules, Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to make sure her children have many different ways to cherish their childhood memories. Dionna’s carnival post features ten of the ways she preserves memories; check out her Pinterest board for more ideas.
  • Memories of my mother — Luschka at Diary of a First Child remembers her mother and the fondest moments of her childhood, especially poignant as she sits by her mother’s sickbed writing.
  • Creating Happy Childhood Memories through Family Traditions — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why family traditions are so important to her and her family and shares how she’s worked to create traditions for her children.
  • Traditional Christmas Tree — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep remembers the great times spent with her family driving for the Christmas Tree and the lessons learned.
  • Wet Socks and Presents — Kat at MomeeeZen writes about her favorite Christmas childhood memory and why it’s so special. And she hopes one day her kids will also have a feel-good memory of their own to look back on.
  • Stuff does not equal memories — Lauren at Hobo Mama learns that letting go does not mean failing to remember.
  • A Child’s Loss- Will They Remember Dad? — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about their family’s loss of their husband and father. She trys to find answers to the question: Will they remember their Dad?
  • Childhood Memories – Hers and Mine — Jorje of Momma Jorje wished for her daughter the same passions and experiences she loved as a child, but learns the hard way to accept whatever passions strike in her child.
  • Holiday Non-TraditionsErika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays.

 

12 thoughts on “My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness”

  1. These are such lovely memories. I remember writing so many letters as a kid, too, and never seem to anymore! Maybe it’s time to start it up again? It sounds like you had a fulfilling childhood (I did, too, and I’m so grateful) and no problem passing that on to Ewan!

  2. Thanks for your comments. I agree, writing letters was so fulfilling and is something we just don;t do anymore, only the odd postcard now! I did have a really fulfilling childhood and am blessed to be passing this onto Ewan.

  3. I’ve often said, with AP friends, how wonderful it must be to have been raised AP, and how that must set an amazing foundation for your own parenting. You seem to have that background,which I think is awesome! Thrilled to find another AP UK blog!

  4. Thank you for sharing these sweet memories! I can relate to several, one of which is letter writing. I so enjoyed sending and receiving handwritten letters. It’s an art that I’ve let fall to the wayside recently, but I do want to instill a love of letters in my own children, so I’d better get back into the habit!

    1. Thanks for your comment, I am glad you can relate to several of my memories including letter writing, it really is an art that is dying out. I hope Ewan can write letters when he is older, perhaps starting him with postcards when we’re on holiday to his grandparents will help, the process of buying and sticking on stamps and posting the letter in the postbox all inspire excitement in him, as it may with your won children, exctiement which electronic mail just can’t fulfil!

  5. What a rich childhood you experienced! I love the memories you shared, and some reminded me of my own, even though they aren’t the same. I too loved writing letters, which is why I seemed to collect pen pals all over the world.

    Great post!

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