I’m so fortunate to have had a great childhood that was a perfect balance of adventure and stability. I have wonderful parents and as I think about the kind of parent I want to be, I find myself reflecting back on what made my childhood a good one.
As I look back, I find myself focusing on specific childhood memories rather than my parents’ “parenting philosophy”. Was that even a think when we were kids? I hate the pressure to pick a parenting style as if it’s a black and white, either / or type of thing.
I grew up in Houston, Texas. If you’ve never been to Houston and picture Texas as all desert and cowboys, Houston definitely doesnt’ fit this image. In addition to being a huge city, it is wet. Very wet. Houston is considered in the subtropical zone and it rains a lot. We had flood days instead of snow days when I was a child and I distinctly remember wading through a parking lot in water past my knees one time to get to our car. I remember stopping at a restaurant to wait out the rain, but their power was out so they had a very limited selection.
One of my favorite childhood memories was on one of these stormy nights. We were thankfully at home for this one, both of my parents, my sister, brother, and me. The power went out and it was after the sun had set, but before bedtime.
My parents lit candles around the house and I felt a sense of mystery and excitement. We sat on the floor and talked and played board games (still one of my favorite pastimes). We played for what seemed like hours, I assume until it was time to get ready for bed.
I don’t remember who discovered it, but someone flicked a switch and exclaimed that the power was back on. My mom is the sweetest, but does not have a very good poker face. She tried to act surprised. We all knew. She had realized hours before that the power was back, but hadn’t told anyone because it was so nice to just spend time as a family without “technology”.
This was before the age of smart phones mind you. We may have had one family computer by then, I don’t remember. Even then though, back in the dark ages, there was apparently a longing for quality time without distraction.
It would have been easy for my parents to complain about the inconvenience, to let the circumstances ruin the evening. But they didn’t. They turned that stormy night into an adventure for us as children. That’s the kind of parent I want to be, and I have to say, it somewhat goes against my nature. I’m not always the most carefree or spontaneous person, but I’m certainly going to try to bring a little fun and adventure into our every day.