They say smells can trigger some of our deepest, most long forgotten memories; an aroma can bring us back to a special place. For some, it's fresh baked cookies and baking bread. For me, it's the ripe aroma of dairy cows and "natural" fertilizer. Oh, and the skunk that decided to take up permanent residence beneath our clothes dryer.
Ah, the smells of childhood. I'm pretty sure those weren't the ones my mother was going for. Nor did she envision Sunday afternoon fights with the septic tank or mid-winter living room camp-outs when the heater broke. At the time, I bet she and my dad were beyond frustrated. Yet now, thirty some years later, many of those moments became cherished memories. (NOT the manure, cow, and skunk smells, in case you wondered. ;) )
It's funny what we moms think of, dream of, as we do this parenting thing. We've heard it's not about the quantity of time, it's about the quality. Of course, we've also been told you can't have quality without quantity. Then there's all that pressure of training and growing and equipping our child, of pushing them to excel and buffering them from disappointments. But along the way, we want more.
We want to make memories, like those we see depicted on Pinterest and Facebook.
At least I do, but too often, the memory I create falls so very short of the one I anticipated. Let's just say, many aren't quite Facebook worthy. Unless I'm going for the laugh-out-louds. Later. Like years later.
Maybe you can relate.
One summer, wanting to introduce our daughter to mountain biking, an activity my husband and I loved to do, I took her to Smithville Lake with it's paved paths and mountain biking trails. Backpack filled with snacks and water; sunscrean and bug repellant on, we were good to go.
My daughter was less than thrilled. Seemed she'd rather stay home. In the air conditioning. With a good book rather than venture out into the 90+, very humid heat.
Strange, I know.
But I was bent on making a memory and convinced she'd love our outing if she just gave it a chance. Or ten.
A mile in, after many starts and stops and lots of complaining, I heard a shriek. One of those long, loud shrieks that can only come from sweet, little nine year-old princesses. Being the highly attentive mom I was, I stopped, listened, mentally debated whether it was a true scream or a stall tactic, and turned to see my daughter flailing frantically, still screaming.
You've heard the midwest has ticks, right? Seemed maybe sometimes there could be a whole nest of them. Seemed my daughter knew exactly where that nest was.
And she wasn't exactly an arachnoid lover.
We can laugh about it now, although I might laugh harder than her. But we survived, as did our relationship. And I'm pretty sure we learned a few things, like:
Sometimes, despite your best laid plans, you land in a tick nest... but that doesn't mean the world has to end.
Flailing and shrieking may hurt one's ears, but it doesn't diminish a mother's love.
You can't let a failed adventure hinder you from trying something new, because the next one might be amazing.
Or not, but at least it'll spark a few wedding-day laughs.
We also learned to cut each other some slack, because honestly, no one lives up to their or other's expectations.
The trick in memory making, I believe, is in how we handle the stink.
How about you? Do you have any memory-making fails that later turned to laughter? How about any situations, like the mid-winter, living room camp-out I mentioned, that started out frustrating but turned out to be special?
Share your thoughts with us.