We’ve spent the last few weeks getting physically and mentally prepared to move into our new home. There was excitement and a lot of tension in the build up, which was all expected, but the feeling I forget always appears while packing up all of your belongs is nostalgia.
That’s right - the “Good Old Days” feeling kicks in hard as you start to uncover old photo albums, long forgotten love letters and that set of keys that you thought you left at a restaurant 3 years ago. And that can seriously slow down the whole process.
For example, we managed to convince my in-laws to take the boys for a few hours so we could get some packing done. I went to the garage to sort it out while my wife had the task of tackling one of the cupboards. I came back an hour later to check how she was doing and found a cupboard that was still mostly untouched and a wife on the floor literally surrounded by old letters I had written to her over the years.
That’s right. She had spent an hour reading all my old, embarrassingly cheesy love letters. I wasn’t exactly Lord Byron, so just glancing over the pages was totally cringe-worthy, and yet there she was, teary at the memory of the sweet boyfriend she used to have - who was now her husband, standing over her in a bit of a huff because of her slow progress…
To be fair, I’ve been a culprit of the Good Old Days Syndrome too. For instance, when we were sorting through our boys old baby clothes, because every item seemed to have a memory attached to it.
“Oh, remember when he was wearing this and he waved for the first time?”
“He came home in this!”
“This used to be so big on him.”
One item in particular really set me off. This one:
This warm, cuddly onesie took my right back to the day we took this photo of The Kid:
This was taken on our family weekend away after we had formally adopted him. It was our first true time alone together as a family. It was cold and rainy most of the weekend, so we were stuck inside most of the time, but we didn’t mind. We were together.
I think our little guy definitely picked up on the joy in the air - he was happy and smiley pretty much all of the time, and was just the cutest little bundle. One afternoon, I pulled a mattress on to the floor in lounge right in the a bit of sunlight that had broken through the clouds, and had my first real afternoon nap with my first real son.
And he was wearing that onesie.
When we unpacked that I just could not help myself. I smelt it and held to my face for far too long than was reasonable. I just found myself stuck in that sweet memory.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I really love the age The Kid is now. We can have conversations, and play sports together and have special handshakes:
..but I wouldn’t mind going back to that afternoon nap with my cute little smiley baby again.
I hate it when older parents tell newer parents to enjoy every moment because it all goes by so quickly. I feel like, when you are in the thick of the beginnings of parenting, that really is the LAST thing you want or need to hear…and yet, somehow, I can’t help myself: Man, it has gone by so quickly.
So quickly, in fact, that I can completely forget how tough that time was. Which is exactly the danger of the Good Old Days syndrome. It makes us look at the past through rose-tinted glasses.
So…what is the point to this post? Well, I kinda just wanted to reminisce…but also, I’d like to propose this:
When you talk to a new parent about how sweet your kids were at the same age, remember to say “Oh, but there was tough times too!”. Maybe that is the best way to battle the dreaded (and yet also loved) Good Old Days Syndrome.