I spent a lovely evening (without kids!!) watching a slideshow of my grandmother and her family. My great-grandmother had taken many pictures during her daughter’s childhood, and even had a few from her own.
I enjoyed sitting with my current extended family and reminiscing on memories and events. “That was their first house.” “Oh, look! I remember that car!” “She loved that outfit so much!”
When people talk about the past, they tend to remember the best parts. They have photographic proof of the best parts, too: the family vacations, beloved car, high school friends, favorite toys, and every year’s Christmas trees.
In fact, I often hear folks nowadays fondly recalling what has been and wishing that we could return to those times.
During conversations with a friend about my children, he said, “In the old days, people would have just said, ‘Boys will be boys,’ and not tried to raise them as girls.” I’ve had neighbors say, “Children used to play outside all day and we never worried about strangers.” Talking to old people in general makes me think I live in a war-torn ghetto instead of a nice suburban neighborhood.
The truth is that every time has its ups and downs. Even during tonight’s family photo slideshow, there were a few snippets of reality.
“That’s Gertrude*. She died of the Spanish ‘Flu. They buried her while seven months pregnant.” “Ha! I remember that halter top. I thought I was pretty hot stuff wearing it.” “There’s that old car, Gramps. Didn’t you and grandma make out a lot in that?” (The answer was affirmative.)
Boys might have been boys, and they also might have been legally paddled by schoolteachers. We may have had more children outside, but they had lead paint and childhood diseases that led to death.
I bring this all up as a helpful reminder that we ought not to beat ourselves up too much about the way things are compared to how they were.
Yes, we need to raise our families and spend time outside and love our children so much. But, we do not need to compare ourselves to a bygone age. We do not need to feel poorly for not building a wagon in our tool shop with our four-year-old son. Whatever relative did that most likely endured hours of yelling, mismatched parts, hammered fingers, and an end product that rolled somewhat lopsidedly.
In any time, it’s the thought that counts. And the family time.
Sunday, March 24: “A Verry Unmerry Birthday to You,” my lamentations regarding birthdays as a mother.
Monday, March 25: “A Poem About Procrastination,” a quick little ditty about shirking responsibility.
Tuesday, March 26: Shared a quote from Pinterest. It’s inspirational. Sort-of.
Wednesday, March 27: Served a Dinner Tip about easy meals.
Thursday, March 28: Posted a quick thought about finding your children.
Friday, March 29: Advised you all to stick to your guns in “Don’t Give In, and Stay Sane Doing So.”
Saturday, March 30: Shared SAHM_RN‘s tweet about shared responsibility.
Sunday, March 31: Today!