Today, as I snuggled the Destroyer in his blanket-wrapped patheticness, my brain went off on a weird tangent: sofas. Specifically, our sofa. Which is not pictured here because it’s a blobby, comfortable mess in a lovely kid-proof shade of brown. Not very photogenic!
Anyway. Sofas. It occurred to me just how many of our critical moments are spent on this sofa. If the kids are sick, they get to snuggle on it with a soft blanket while I keep an eye on them. If it’s time to read a book as a family, they all pile onto the sofa and squish me to death so that they can be physically touching me while we read.
If someone bumps their head, the first stop is the sofa, where a parent evaluates their wounds and offers kisses and ice packs if needed. Or band aids, if the wound is sufficiently bloody.
If the kids want to do school on their tablet, they’re hanging off the sofa head first, or dangling with their head upside down over the arm. If they’re feeling bouncy, they sneak onto the sofa when I’m not looking and jump. Seriously guys, why did I buy you a mini trampoline? Oh, yeah! So you won’t destroy my sofa!
It’s a fort, a climbing aid, a support for a bridge: you name it, my kids have done it to my sofa. Including falling off head first and getting an impressive face full of carpet burn (the Engineer, when he was 2. And of course, we were right there but not close enough to catch him.)
If our kids are anything like us, they’ll have memories of this sofa long after it’s gone. Supposedly kids don’t retain long-term memories until they’re around 10, but Mr. Genius and I both have very vivid, early memories as kids. My earliest memory is riding in my car seat down the road to pick up my brother from preschool. Mr. Genius has more early memories than I do, including one of pulling his diaper off and tossing it out of the window of the car because he was done with diapers.
I don’t want my kids to remember the bad times. The times their sibling clonked them on their head. The time, like today, when they snuggled on the sofa because their tummy hurt and they just puked up their entire lunch all over the bathroom floor. The times they fell off the sofa and got a grand robin’s egg on their head. No, I don’t want them to remember that.
I want them to remember the snuggles of a caring parent. The kisses that made it feel better. The feeling of safety, of security, of love. That’s what I want them to remember, long after this old dilapidated sofa is long gone.
Sometimes I feel like I’m failing as a parent. And sometimes, when I think of the sofa, I realize I’m not. I’m not failing. I’m just parenting.
I could do with a little less puke, just saying. Send wine?