Christmas can include family activities that are pleasant and not stressful. They can include good smelling things from the kitchen and time to taste special things. Gifts can be purchased and hidden. We had a lot of fun wrapping and giving groceries I had in the kitchen. Secrets about gifts can be special. Perhaps Christmastime will include an annual expedition to the mountains for a Christmas tree or an annual expedition to the Christmas tree lot – or perhaps a trip to the basement to bring up the tree and decorate it. Is the activity fun? Are the memories sweet?
Memories matter and they should include you. Most of my photos include only the children and on rare occasions their Dad. I had the camera.
I would encourage you to get into the action photos. I have a few when the children were older. Becky had me put on her graduation cap and gown and climb on top of the cougar down at BYU and then she sat beside me. On the trip to Texas to Bonnie’s college graduation I was hoisted up onto a full size (not real) bull. Another picture caught me on an Alpine Slide with Bonnie running along side to make sure, in her opinion, I was all right.
For the most part I did not take enough pictures of the everyday life that was so meaningful. One I do have is of the family around the dinner table. Another favorite is one I staged because I didn’t have one of the family kneeling in family prayer, which we did every morning. Since we want to build happy memories in the lives of our children, photos could help us do just that.
So often it is easy to focus on correcting family members. We need to be constantly conscious of the feelings that are going on each day. Hopefully there is happiness that creates warm fuzzy feelings. Hopefully we can laugh at some mistakes that take place, compliment sportsmanship when games are lost, laugh when the spray paint meant for the Pine Derby car ends up on a shirt, cheer when a child tries hard to make a basket at a basketball game but misses and cheerfully make some wonderful comment when the milk is spilled again.
Hopefully as teens come home from a date or a dance, they are greeted with a listening ear and a hug. When the snow needs shoveling and the neighbor’s needs it too, there needs at times to be a reminder about how special it is to have a son to work by your side. Working together on meals or the yard can be memorable times.
Family togetherness on a vacation can feel cramped, but hopefully the memories will be those of laughter, perhaps races in the desert for a rest stop, and stories in the car on the way.
In hindsight, as years pass, restrictions can be understood and appreciated, but having no restrictions as a child does not produce a happy adult. Boundaries have to be set and yet leniency has to take place. Goals need to be set and at times compromised.
As the holidays come, may we fill them with sweet memories and not get lost in the seemingly pressing responsibilities, many of which we might be able to simplify or eliminate.