Friday, August 13, 2010


You know how you're a parent and your kids are little and you experience those moments that are like, "I will never forget this as long as I live?" And then, ten years later or whatever, you can't remember most of it, even all that stuff you swore would be with you forever?

I am experiencing that right now. Well, it's actually been for the past decade or so. I have things in my shoe boxes and memory folders that I have no idea why I kept, even though at the time I am sure I thought I'd always remember. I have been sifting through my memories, trying to find the ones that stand out, but unfortunately all I'm coming up with are the bad ones . . . the times I lost my temper, the times I screwed up, the times I let the birthday kid down, etc.

I've been trying to come up with some positive memories for one kid in particular, and I'm failing in a particularly bad way. Could it be that I was really such a bad parent that I can't find anything good to look back upon? This is the best that I can come up with...

After ten or twelve years (and five or six kids) in the same house with the same walls, we finally decided to upgrade the bedrooms, move the kids around to new rooms, and repaint. This one kid and I had come up with a really cool plan - walls the lightest tan possible, with a multi-colored stripe that zigged and zagged around the room. We picked this light, creamy tan color that reminded me of a cafe au lait, moved all the stuff out, primed the walls, and began to paint.

Everything went well, at first. Then the paint began to dry. It dried much darker than we ever expected. It was like buying a make up compact and putting it on, only to realize that it makes you look like you have the worst fake tan imaginable. We had such a cool paint scheme in mind, and now this dark tan was going to ruin our plan.

We decided to go and buy a lighter shade of paint, without telling (or asking) The Man In Charge, and repaint the room in secret so he would never know. Back at the paint store we picked a much better color - I think it was called Malt - but we knew it was going to be perfect.

As soon as we had the time (probably after HE was in bed) we cracked that new can open and began to repaint. Uh-oh. Something wasn't right. The new shade of paint was going over the wrong shade, all right, but the two colors were exactly the same. It was so close that we couldn't even tell where the new wet paint ended and the old dry paint began!

By then, the two of us were somewhere between shock and panic, and didn't know whether to laugh or cry. What to do now? We decided to finish putting the new paint over the old, reassuring each other that it wasn't going to be that bad, getting more and more hilarious by the moment. We finished in the wee hours and left the room and shut the door behind us, for better or worse.

In the sunshine of the next day, we were relieved to find that the paint indeed had dried lighter, and the new room was exactly the light creamy shade we had hoped for. When it was completely dry, we used masking tape to create stripes of various widths, and made the coolest stripes in shades of blue, brown and pink. It was (and probably still is) the nicest room in that house.

I love that memory.

I miss those days.


  1. I have a different kind of problem, in that I remember all the good times but my girls seem to only remember the bad things I've done. It breaks my heart, because they think the very few and far between bad moments were the norm : (

    I have a shoebox that I put some of my daughter's cute drawings in, planning to some day either frame them or at least scrapbook. Now I can't remember who drew what. Why didn't I think to label them?! Aargh!

  2. Hi Michelle. Thanks for visiting! I love that your painting fiasco became a happy memory, as few crazy fiascos do. And I agree the stuff I can't remember breaks my heart too, particularly the quirky, cute things my girls would say when they first started talking. Now they're in grade school and I struggle to pick out the shining moments I can recount for them later when they're adults. Unlikely I'll come up with much when all my brain juice is spent on making sure they make it to school everyday with all the necessities, like shoes and such.