Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting}

Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I've had a draft sitting in my posts list here for a while. It simply stated: 
Inter-generational living... old fashioned idea for a modern generation.
Aka. We were almost living with Willy.

For those regular readers, you may remember my frustratingly vague posts back at the beginning of October (you can check them out here). Well, I guess the above explains what that was all about. For those coming in for the Carnival and wondering what this has to do with Childhood Memories, well I hope you'll bear with me, because I promise it all ties together!

Back even before September, when Willy had a possible stroke and ended up in the hospital, there had been talk of the fact that he probably shouldn't be living alone for much longer. His memory was getting sketchier and he really shouldn't have been driving. The possible stroke obviously forced the matter. Willy was in the hospital, then the rehabilitation center for a few weeks, then jetted off to AZ to stay with Trav's mom for a prearranged visit. It worked out that it meant not having to make a decision right that second about the house and where Willy would live. Long story, short, there was talk about whether it would work for Travis, Gwen, and I to move over there. There were definite pluses and definitely negatives to both moving or not. As of now though, Willy is still in AZ, and will be until at least the spring (and the arrival of warmer weather in PA). In the time that has passed, and with the reports coming in from Trav's mom, its definitely better that he is there. But emotions are still mixed.

Christmas is in two weeks. In our time together, Trav and I have worked out a good system for the holidays. Christmas Eve was always spent at Willy's, Christmas Day we open presents at our house, then we head up to my parent's place. A good mix of his extended family, my extended family, and our own little family. When we were considering the idea of living with Willy, Christmas Eve brought about multiple emotions for me. See, every year Willy would have a Christmas Eve get together at his house. Besides Trav, Gwen, and I, this would include his daughter (Trav's aunt and the only sibling who lives locally), her 2 daughters (Trav's cousins), their spouses, and their 6 kids. Its a lot of fun, but it can be a little overwhelming! We are talking 8 - 9 adults, 5 adult/almost adult kids, and 2 toddlers! Frankly, the thought of living in the house and having all those people descend on it made me feel a little panicky! No escaping to our own house when we'd had enough.

Now, however, that we are facing the impending holiday's without Willy's Christmas Eve craziness on the menu, well, I'm sad that tradition might be ending. These are memories that I want Gwen to have... warm houses full of talking, laughing, eating, loud craziness! When I think back on my own childhood, I have many wonderful specific memories: my dad reading to me while we waited at the bus stop, my mom and I baking cookies, swimming with my best friend, weeks spent at my grandparent's. But more then that, I have a wonderful plethora of general "feeling" memories, the ones that occur when multiple occasions mash together into one: Christmases full of excitement, warmth, laughter, and Family; my mom's love and acceptance; my dad's devotion.

Digital photography and phones with cameras and video help to ensure that Gwen will remember the singular things. A trip to a museum or a zoo, travel to a new city, camping, a specific party. But I'm also hoping to solidify those generalized memories. Of course, you can't decide how someone else remembers things, but I'm sad that Pappy's parties will no longer be contributing.

For now, we'll work to create our own Christmas Eve memories, and work to get Pappy on Skye more often. 

Help a girl out... what do you do on Christmas Eve?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon December 11 with all the carnival links.)
  • Childhood Memories of Peace, Support, Joy, and Love — Amber at Heart Wanderings wants to make sure the majority of the memories that her children have as a part of their family are ones that are positive and help support the amazing people that they are now and will become as adults.
  • Hand Made Baby Books — Destany at They Are All of Me talks about why baby books are important to her for preserving memories of her childrens first years, and shows how she made one by hand for each child.
  • Can your childhood memories help you keep your cool?Here's To A Boring Year uses memories of being a child to keep her on the path to peaceful parenting.
  • Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about her own childhood memories, and what she hopes her daughter will remember in the future.
  • Snapshots — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings reflects on the ways our childhood memories appear to us, and hopes her own daughter's childhood will be one she remembers as being happy and fulfilled.
  • What makes the perfect parent? — In a guest post on Natural Parents Network, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog reflects on camp follow and camp no-follow...
  • In My Own Handwriting — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about her journals and the hope that they will be able to keep her stories alive even if she isn't able to.
  • Candlelight, fairylight, firelight — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud re-discovers the ingredients for bringing magic to life, especially at Christmas.
  • Making Memories (or) How We Celebrate Christmas — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about creating new memories at Christmas, and the joy their adventures bring to her whole family.
  • The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares why she puts pen to paper every day to record more than just her experiences as a mother and her daughter's experiences as a child. Jennifer looks at the importance of capturing feelings and emotions that accompany the experience.
  • Dredged up — Kenna at Million Tiny Things has been forced to recount childhood memories at bedtime, due to the failure of her middle-aged imagination. She resists, of course.
  • Crafting Memories — Handmade is what makes the holidays special for Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs, and she wants to create the same connection with her daughters that she remembers with mother and grandmother.
  • My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness Stone Age Parent shares the impact of her childhood memories on her life as a parent today, listing some of her many rich childhood memories and how they now act as beacons of light helping her in the complex, often confusing world of child-rearing.
  • 10 Ways I Preserve Memories for My Children — From video interviews to time capsules, Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to make sure her children have many different ways to cherish their childhood memories. Dionna's carnival post features ten of the ways she preserves memories; check out her Pinterest board for more ideas.
  • Memories of my mother — Luschka at Diary of a First Child remembers her mother and the fondest moments of her childhood, especially poignant as she sits by her mother's sickbed writing.
  • Creating Happy Childhood Memories through Family Traditions — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why family traditions are so important to her and her family and shares how she’s worked to create traditions for her children.
  • Traditional Christmas Tree — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep remembers the great times spent with her family driving for the Christmas Tree and the lessons learned.
  • Wet Socks and Presents — Kat at MomeeeZen writes about her favorite Christmas childhood memory and why it's so special. And she hopes one day her kids will also have a feel-good memory of their own to look back on.
  • Stuff does not equal memories — Lauren at Hobo Mama learns that letting go does not mean failing to remember.
  • A Child's Loss- Will They Remember Dad? — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about their family's loss of their husband and father. She trys to find answers to the question: Will they remember their Dad?
  • Childhood Memories - Hers and Mine — Jorje of Momma Jorje wished for her daughter the same passions and experiences she loved as a child, but learns the hard way to accept whatever passions strike in her child.
  • Holiday Non-TraditionsErika Gebhardt enjoys her family's tradition of not having traditions for the holidays.


  1. Growing up, my mom had us open a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve. Last year, we started a new tradition in our family - we had a nice dinner (lit by an ice candle we made) and read letters we'd written to each other that shared different things we love about each other. It's on our Advent Activities calendar to do again this year - I'm excited!

  2. My family never had any traditions like that. Christmas Eve was just another day. On Christmas Day we would open our presents when my parents decided to get up, have a bland roast dinner (my mum isn't a great cook!) just the four of us in the family in front of the TV as always (usually awkward because my parents hated each other), and then play with our new toys or watch TV while my mum did housework and my dad played with his new toys. It makes me sad to look back on it. I usually got the presents I wanted, but that's not what I remember really. I remember it not being special or magical. It was awkward and generally boring: all my friends were with family so I'd be stuck indoors with my arguing parents. Just another day.

    I'm determined to make things so much different for my daughter! I want her to remember warmth and love and special little traditions. How could you not want that for your child?!

    aNonyMous @ Radical Ramblings

  3. Ah, totally. I get sad when I think about all the relatives and friends my kids will never know or remember, or the celebrations and traditions that have ended for good. I'm sure that's been a hard choice for you to make.

    On Christmas Eve, it's just our little family. We dim the lights and light candles (generally LED now, because I'm paranoid) and the tree and open a single present.

  4. I like the pajamas thing and have bought Christmas pjs for Monkey this year, but I'm not intending to wrap them. I just think they're super cute and want them for the Christmas morning pics lol.

    My family's traditions were always to put out a snack for Santa and his reindeer (milk, cookies and carrots) and hang up the stockings. I'll definitely continue those with Monkey but I love hearing what other people do... So I can steal their ideas!

    Maybe we'll start a movie-watching or light-viewing tradition. Not sure yet...

  5. We do the holiday hop similar to what your family does. We do Thanksgiving with either my mom or my husband's mom, then the other person gets Christmas evening and the day after. On Christmas Eve I make a point to be in our own house so we can wake up with our own tree/traditions. On Christmas Eve we make cookies and leave them for Santa. Also have made "Reindeer Food" and sprinkled it in the front yard. I get them a special ornament and put their name and year on it somewhere to add to our tree each year. I think this year I will let them open that gift on Christmas Eve.


Leave me some love!
~ Meegs