Parenting is never a perfect process. So, naturally, we’re biased in terms of what we choose to remember. Who wouldn’t be? The good memories take prominence over the bad ones. And rightly so. Hopefully I have enough self-awareness to learn from my mistakes – there are enough of them! – but that doesn’t mean I can’t exercise selective memory in terms of what I want to stuff into my virtual memory box.
Last Sunday was a prime example. Heather took Kara down to Dorset to visit her mum, while I took Isaac and Toby on a boys’ day out to Legoland.
It wasn’t a perfect day by any stretch of the imagination. I managed to leave the house without either sun cream or enough drinks for the boys (both easily rectified). Toby got told off (about a five on a scale of one to nuclear) for his consistent knack of waiting until he is the furthest possible distance from a toilet before telling me that he needs to go right now. I shouldn’t have let my exasperation get the better of me, but you know how it is sometimes.
Worst of all, at one point during the pirate show, I lost Isaac for 15 minutes in the crowd. (I never used to understand how parents could possibly lose their children. I do now!)
I was confident he had just wandered off to find a better vantage point and I trusted that he was sensible enough to remember what to do – look for me in the last place he saw me and then find someone wearing a Legoland uniform. (I’m told they feed lost children with ice cream until their parents show up. Hmm, this sounds like a plan for the future …)
Thankfully I was right. Toby and I retreated to seats outside the coffee shop where we had previously been, and sure enough as soon as the show had ended Isaac turned up to be greeted with the kind of calm, measured, voice-not-raised telling off that he knows means he’s in big trouble. One reminder of the perils of walking off later, all was well again and we got on with our day.
I probably won’t remember any of these incidents in a month or two’s time, but what I will remember is the fact that for 95% of the day we had a great time, in the way that the boys always do when they don’t have their sister to slow them down.
We did most of their favourite rides, we chatted happily over lunch (topics of conversation: cars, Top Gear, where hot dogs come from, cars and what I was going to allow them to buy in the shop at the end of the day) and I snapped a couple of photos that captured the good bits.
I don’t need to remember everything. All I need to know is that, for all their and my little flaws, I have two great little boys who (mostly) get on brilliantly both with each other and with their dad.