The winter season gives us a perfect excuse to huddle together and share some of our memories with our little ones. Read on and see why we are planning on making this a regular practice. – The Warrior Family
The winter here in VA keeps the temperatures down, and the snuggle time high. This gives me the perfect excuse to setup a nice fire in the family room, and kick back with my lovely wife. The other evening, we were joined by our two boys. Earlier that day, I had told them a story about my childhood, and they wanted to to hear more. Initially, I hesitated. I just wanted to sit back, enjoy my drink, and, have some quiet time with my wife – but they insisted. This, at first, kind of annoyed me. However, I had a quick flash of a memory from my past. It was also during the holidays, and we had house guests staying with us. I remember all of the lights being out, and we were huddled around my father, listening to stories about his life as a boy in El Salvador. I quickly remembered the feeling of amazement as I realized that my father, who I though was an unstoppable super hero, used to be a little trouble maker! That feeling that took over me in that short memory, I could tell, was exactly what my two boys were feeling. So, I did my best to share with them what I could. I talked about all the dogs my brother and I raised; the adventures we would go on when our parents were away working; it was almost exhausting! I hadn’t tried to remember that far in a long time. But I failed to quench my boy’s thirst for information. I promised them more as soon as my bother arrived on an upcoming visit.
After the boys went to bed, I remember telling my wife that I needed to do that more often. To sit my boys down, and tell them as much as I could about my past. How I remembered society, and how I remembered their grandparents. Strangely enough, I would be given justification to my idea in the form of a very unwanted phone call.
“But as the years went on … that memory grew stale”
Not two days after we were huddled around the fireplace for “story time”, my phone rang. It was my baby sister (yes, in my eyes, she’s still a baby), and she had to be the bearer of bad news. As it turns out, my maternal grandfather had become terminally ill with cancer, and did not have much more time to live. She had burst into tears as she cried, “He’s dying, Erick!”, as if something that had belonged to her was being stolen from her very hands. I, however, didn’t share her reaction. You see, when my sister was very young (I am eight years her elder), my grandfather up and left. We never really knew why, I just remember being very confused. I loved this man very much, and respected him deeply. But as the years went on, all of the missed birthdays, the graduations, and the introductions to my children were missed, that memory grew stale. They were there, but they just didn’t hold the same emotional value they once did.
As I thought about my sister’s reaction over the phone, I realized that the few memories she had with him is all she had. They were surely great because of her young age. She was treated like a princess, and knew nothing else. Come to think of it, neither did I. I had very few memories of anything we had done together, stories told, or anything else. That’s when I realized, I didn’t want my memory, or the memory of those that I love, to fade away like his. In fact, my sons didn’t even know he existed.
I have always been a huge proponent for filling your children’s memories with positive experiences, and deeply engaging interactions. Now, I plan to add another notch to the belt. I want to let my boys know who in my past helped shape me into what I am today. I want them to know that the three of us have many shared experiences that simply haven’t been brought to light. By sharing my past with them, I hope to strengthen our relationship, and provide them with many stories to share with their future children. It would be a shame for anyone to be forgotten in history. But by silencing our past experiences, this will surely happen.
As I sit in the airport awaiting the arrival of my big bro’, I find myself excited to come back to the house, get a nice fire going, and cozy up around the most epic story time the boys will likely see. Hopefully, this will be the start of a new practice that will strengthen the roots in my next big project…
Make the effort, do your part, fight to make your family better.
Fight on, friends! – The Warrior Family
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