My daughters had a blue bouncy seat. When they were babies, I’d strap them in it when I took a shower, folded laundry, or chopped vegetables for dinner. As they grew older, the seat converted to a rocking chair. I hold vivid memories of my firstborn kicking back in that chair with a stack of board books on the floor beside her, turning page after page of Brown Bear and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
She loved that chair.
Which is why I was kind of surprised when she asked me last week, “Mom, did my sister have a bouncy seat when she was little?”
“Yes, sweetheart.” I crinkled my eyebrows. “You both did.”
“What color was it?”
“Blue. Don’t you remember?”
Huh. Of course she hadn’t seen the seat in a couple years at least, since we donated it beyond our household. But still, my heart sank a little. Because I realized that a memory so deeply ingrained in my mind was blank in hers.
And it dawned on me—there must be others. How many memories do I hold dear, which my children do not share? Of course they don’t remember their own baby days. They might only vaguely recall toddlerhood. In a few years, they may not remember today.
Ouch. Day after day, my daughters and I are shaping the puzzle pieces of their childhood, yet they will never assemble the full picture the way I can. It seems like somebody gets cheated in this deal, right? Either my kids—because they won’t fathom their younger selves the way I do. Or me—because, well, what’s the point? If my girls won’t recall all the mommy sweat I invest in them—the lunch box notes, the UNO games, the dinosaur-shaped toast—does my daily effort really matter?
So what if our kids won’t see it.
They will feel it.
And they will know it.
These memories, which to me construct the whole of my experience as a parent, are to my children not so much mental images as a general understanding of what it means to be loved. To feel secure. Special. Cherished.
I see a pony ride at Disney World. They will remember how their parents carved time and attention and desired to bring them joy.
I see a monkey-face chocolate birthday cake with grandparents seated around the table. My kids will remember how family was a priority, and birthdays were marked as blessings from God.
I see a growing girl twisting friendship bracelets and fumbling novice fingers through a knitting loom. She will remember how her mother encouraged creativity, affirmed her interests, and granted freedom to make mistakes.
What about you? What do you see? All these memories we hold close, whether precious or ordinary, orchestrated or unplanned—they all have one thing in common.
They make an impact.
“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts” (Psalm 103:17–18).
Ten or twenty years from now, our children may not recall the details. But they will possess the virtues we poured into them along the way. They’ll know without a doubt how we loved them. And, God willing, they will remember and share our love for Jesus—thanks to all those years we showed them how to love Jesus, too.
“Mom, are you sure the chair was blue?” My seven-year-old cocked her head toward me. “I thought my sister had a yellow bouncy seat.”
Huh? I rewound a few years. Oh, yeah . . .
“You’re right, lovey.” I nodded slowly. “Your seat was blue. Hers was yellow. We bought a new bouncy chair for your sister because you were still using yours when she was born. You are absolutely right. How did I forget that?”
My daughter giggled. “It’s okay, Mom. Lucky for you, I have a good memory.”
I get to stock that memory with faith, hope, and love.
Because I’m a mom; therefore, I matter.
And so do you.