Two Christmases ago our Elf on the Shelf, Luciano, left my children a gift of lollipop seeds before going back with Santa to the North Pole. The kids were ecstatic, and immediately made the connection between a bag of sweet seeds and the potential for a lollipop garden. And so it was on a warm day last July, that we planted them amongst the vegetables in our raised garden beds. As expected of enchanted lollipop seeds, they grew overnight into a veritable forrest of colorful lollipops, a treat my children hadn't yet experienced. Their reactions were priceless, a response to what could only be described as magic. Yes, the magic of childhood, when anything is possible.
A few days ago my kiddos and I attended the birthday party for a friend when the dad and I got into a conversation about the differences between childhood now and when we were kids. "I don't understand it" he said, "why do we do so much for our kids now? Not everything has to be an event. It's OK for them to just be home, celebrate birthdays with cousins they don't like, and be bored every once in a while." Had my husband been with us, he would likely have thrown this other daddy a high-five, and then gone off to get a beer. And I get it! My children are experiencing a childhood like nothing I ever experienced. But it doesn't make it wrong, and here's why.
There is a certain inherent magic to childhood, connected to the innocence and wonder of children just being who they are. But there is something else magical about childhood. It's believing that anything is possible, being open to the world, and about we parents taking advantage of that to the fullest to help our kids create rich memories. Isn't this why we introduce, and it seems try to prolong, the idea of Santa Claus? A man who flies in a sled pulled by reindeer, delivering gifts to children the world over. Or the Easer Bunny, who hides colored eggs and delivers baskets of treats? Or the Tooth Fairy, who collects baby teeth and replaces them with quarters (OK, I used to get a quarter, and my kids will, too- though I know my fair share of tooth fairies handing out $20 a tooth)? This magic in the making is also about MEMORIES in the making, it's what makes it so special!
My kiddos love home days, and we spend plenty of time enjoying the peace and tranquility of our home (admittedly, a peace and tranquility that is often broken by the scream of one sibling as the other wreaks one havoc or another). But we make it a point to make memories. We have big birthday parties (of course they're twins, so lucky me, I only have to plan ONE); Santa brings one gift and fills the stockings- and it is always awesome; the Easter Bunny doesn't bring candy, he brings books and games and the kids love it! Is it over the top? Maybe. Is it wrong? No way! Every family has their own magic. We love to travel, exposing our kids, through opportunities we never had, to the world around us. Seeing my children's awe at the Eiffel Tower, for example, (after they'd talked about it for months) was incredible. Watching their reverence in Cathedrals that have withstood the centuries is awe inspiring.
It doesn't mean we'll never spend birthdays with cousins we don't like (well, that's maybe not true, we love all the cousins), but it does mean that we parents have permission to treat our children to the world around them. It doesn't have to be extravagant, it doesn't have to be expensive, but you will never forget the smile on your kids' faces when something really connects. That's where the magic is. That's where their memories will live.