They don’t remember the morning we lost our cool because their bowl of Cheerios landed on the floor, the milk spread to the rug, the dog drank the milk, and the cat ate the Os.
They do remember how we ran to the bus stop with seconds to spare because they forgot their Miss Kitty lunch box on the table. The bus driver applauded. So did the kids.
They also remember the love notes we tucked safely inside between the sandwich, bags of apples, and Cheez-Its.
They don’t remember that we didn’t have money to go to Disneyland.
They do remember sleeping out under the stars—the magic of looking up and finding the Big Dipper.
They don’t remember not having a birthday theme party nor the absence of costumed Cinderellas, Snow Whites, Ninja Turtles, or Incredible Hulks.
They do remember living room rug picnics during snowstorms, blanket forts complete with flashlights and no bogeyman to worry about, wearing warm fuzzy pajamas all day, and hours of Candy Land until everyone won at least once.
They don’t remember that their boots, coats, hats, mittens, sweaters were hand-me-downs.
They do remember running in the rain without jackets while grandma fretted they’d catch their death of cold.
And when she wasn’t looking, jumping in and over puddles, making the coolest snow angels, catching snowflakes on their tongues, and coming home to mugs of hot chocolate loaded with mini-marshmallows.
They don’t remember we didn’t have a fancy car.
They do remember road trips to the grocery store waving to every passenger in every vehicle that went by and declaring a winner.
You see, they don’t remember the things we think they do.
The things we’re uncomfortable with or feel guilty about.
They remember simple, honest, day-to-day consistency.
That they were loved.
That they felt that love under every circumstance.
That they were safe.
That they were secure.
That we represented HOME.
We never again need to worry about the shortcomings we hold against ourselves.
We didn’t fail then. We’re not failing now.
Tuck that knowledge away for the future, which in our case could be five minutes down the road.