The dojo where my boys take karate is right next to a branch of my bank. I needed to make a deposit yesterday and as we walked up to the ATM, Z1 excitedly asked if he could press the buttons (and then Z2, never wanting to be left out, started vying for the chance). I told them there were plenty of buttons to press and that would both get some turns. Just at that moment, my mind flashed back so strongly to a very happy memory of my childhood.
A few years ago, some friends of mine were working through the exercises in Connection Parenting by Pam Leo, one of which was to recall some happy childhood memories. I found this exercise very frustrating. For every would-be happy memory, there was something that would taint it. Sometimes even ruin it. I couldn't come up with one purely happy memory and that made me sad but also informed me of the fact that I had a lot to do if I was going to practice connection parenting.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was when the exuberance of my boys to press buttons on the ATM jogged such a wonderful childhood memory! I remembered my own father taking me to the bank and the magical way the ATMs would make the room glow. I couldn't see anything on the screens until my father hoisted me up and let me sit on the machine. Then, more magic, the words and pictures would appear. My father would tell me which buttons on the touch screen to press and I would gleefully press and watch to see what would happen. I remember how much I looked forward to the simple act of going to the bank. I am not sure my father knows how much of an impression it made on my young mind. How his involvement in something so magical for me penetrated so deeply.
I am currently reading Mitten Strings for God by Katrina Kenison and the entry I read yesterday was all about magic. The author talked about fairies and other things that didn't really connect with me in any way. But I get it now. I understand how powerful it is for me as a parent to be involved in the magic of my children's childhood.
I was truly grateful, you know? Such a mundane activity as going to the ATM with my children (as opposed to going alone) brought back to me a powerful and happy memory. I'm grateful that I can be their mother. That I am open to what they have to offer me. That I can be here to raise them but that they are also here to raise me. An amazing, magical gift, I would say.