Less is More – REALLY

This spring my daughter moved to a new home. It’s on one acre of land. For a city girl that’s a lot of land. The plan is to have pot belly pigs and chickens but this summer the land is fallow. So the sunflowers and weeds have grown up as tall as a man in some places. It’s a veritable fortress of green and gold. The kids don’t venture into it because not only is it tall it’s full of stickers.

However, their dad has a new mini-tractor which he LOVES to use. This is one perk of having an acre of land when you’re a city boy! You get a new toy. He uses it to mow the lawn (it has an attachment) and recently he has been using it to pull the kids through the weed forest. It has a wagon. What a GREAT mini-tractor!

Yesterday, after church, Doug hooked up the wagon and filled it with the kids and off they went. It was hysterical watching and listening to them as they plowed through the verdant growth of the back pasture. The kids loved it and they will not forget the fun time they are having with their dad.

Think back to your favorite memories as a child. What are they? Who or what are the most distinct elements of those memories?

My children are grown adults, aged twenty-seven to forty-five. Recently, I asked them what their fondest memories were from childhood. Here are a few responses:

  • Jenny—“Playing with the big jar of buttons!”
  • Marie—“I remember you used a fridge box and turned it into a little store. I remember Seth being the clerk inside the box and us buying things. I also remember loving to look at your sticker books. I remember the night we pretended we didn’t have electricity and camping in the back yard.”
  • Barry—“I loved how much food we had on Thanksgiving and how tasty it was. I loved eating the tops of the cakes you cut off when baking. Canning, sewing, and cross country skiing to school were all enjoyable for me! I loved all the camping that we did and sitting in the dark with the Christmas lights on in the living room.”
  • Seth—“I loved New Year’s Eve and the cheese and meat tray that we ate while sitting on the floor watching a movie. I remember sitting on the front porch when it rained and smelling the rain and the lilacs. I remember our walks together and stopping by that beautiful yard, smelling the flowers.
  • Jodie—“I loved going to the park for the Fourth of July and eating watermelon. My most cherished memories are of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. I loved all of the little traditions we had, from the way we decorated, to making gingerbread houses, to what we ate.”
  • Kate—“I remember you and me sitting under the table reading a chapter of Katie John together. She painted her face with lipstick on picture day and it wouldn’t come off. We laughed and laughed together. I remember gardening with you and finding that HUGE spider. I remember you sitting with me while I wrote that tough poem for school. I loved you teaching us to make snow candy, homemade noodles, sugar eggs, pillows filled with milkweed fluff and quilting.
  • Andrew—“I remember dad letting me sit on his lap and drive when I went on business trips with him. I also remember working with him in the crawl space. I don’t think either of us actually liked going down there, but we did like working together.”

Can you see that the most memorable memories of my children cost very little, didn’t take tons of time or preparation? It’s also interesting to note that the majority of these happy and pleasant memories are of events that happened in the course of daily living.

As parents, we spend a great deal of time worrying about whether we’re measuring up, whether we’re doing anything that our children will remember with fondness. And because we worry about this we tend to complicate things, create more work for ourselves and even spend money that isn’t necessary.

So when you begin to wonder if you’re doing anything in your home to create memories for your children that matter its well to remember that in the lasting-memory-department less is truly MORE.

Feel free to share your children’s favorite memories in the comments section. I’d love to hear them and asking your children to share can be eye opening. : )

Here’s to more joy,
Mary Ann
P.S. You can learn more about how the principle of Less is More can bless your family in my new book Becoming a Present Parent, Connecting With Your Children in Five Minutes or Less.  You can also receive a chapter from the book on Touchpoints, creating points of connection, FREE by visiting becomingapresentparent.com  It can be life changing for your family. I promise!

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10 responses on “Less is More – REALLY

  1. Cindy L Winward

    I remember playing store at Grandma and Grandpas house. They had an old shed with shelves on the outside of the shed. We would pick weeds and sell them in our store, pretty much anything outside went into our store. We played for hours with our cousins.

    1. Mary Ann Johnson Post author

      Hey sis, that is one of my favorite memories also. The Queen Ann’s Lace was cauliflower and the wild Snapdragons(Toadflax) was butter. The Honeysuckle berries were, well, berries. We spent so many hours playing that game with cousins. I LOVED it!!

  2. Jacquie

    Hey Mary Ann! Someone shared this link on my FB page and I just had to stop by to say hello. It looks like life is treating you well and I am happy to see that. Loved reading your wonderful post. Best of everything to you and your family.
    Jacquie Blatter

    1. Mary Ann Johnson Post author

      Jacquie, thank you for stopping by. Life is good and I continue to learn a lot. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Please visit each Sunday morning for the most current article. I love talking about families, parenting, and connection. : )

  3. Anne Awbrey (Jenny's mother-in-law)

    Two very distinct memories come to mind for me with my grandparents. My Mom’s Mom played Amazing Grace on the harmonica. She had no teeth and she was amazing. Mother of twelve with so much love to give!
    My Dad’s parents….stringing a hose on the clothesline and we (in our underclothes) showered in the cold spray. It was 10:00 pm and 100 degrees out. We all giggled and slept afterward like babies.

    My favorite memory of my Mom was the sparkle in her eyes when she was happy!
    My favorite memory of my Dad was of him pulling my tooth. He assured me that it would’ hurt and it didn’t …. the best part was sitting on his lap and the trust I had in him.

    1. Mary Ann Johnson Post author

      Anne, you are right on. Most of the memories that my family shared with me while I was writing the book Becoming a Present Parent were all about love. We show that love best when we are engaged and happy to be engaged. : )

  4. Bonnie Willford

    My fondest childhood memories are of my younger childhood. We lived on a 15 acre ranch. I loved to race bikes with my brother down the bumpy dirt road. He would sit high on the wooden fence and time my ride and try to beat my time. My siblings and I would jump up onto a rope swing our dad made for us and swing out to the middle of the pond and let go splashing into the muckiest pond water. I loved it and lived for it! We would go sledding in the winter until dark. Often my poor mother had to ring a large bell just to get us to quit dorking around and come to dinner. I remember wearing a hole into the bottom of my snowsuit and waiting almost panicked for my mother to patch it up so I could get back to my winter adventures with my siblings. We picked green beans all day in the hot summer sun just so our mom would let us go swimming in the stall water tank. We ate all we grew and raised, and we swam in a stock tank. I never knew just how tight my parents were. I remember choosing shoes from a shoe closet of handed down shoes and wearing patched up pants. I could care less at that point in my life. I was always so happy when the sun came up and I could get back to backyard adventures.

    1. Mary Ann Johnson Post author

      This is wonderful Bonnie. I have been out to your old place and my kids had some wonderful times there. I loved your mom and dad. It is so amazing that most of the best-held memories are of family, free and open spaces of time just to play and enjoy each other and cost virtually nothing. : )

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