My New Glasses

Empty Nest Parenting

In order to look back over the years raising young children, all parents are issued a pair of rose colored glasses.  You will get a pair as soon a your kids leave home!

My boys had temper tantrums, they threw up in their beds and one of them did not sleep through the night until he was four years old (you know who you are.) They disobeyed us, they spoke back to us and fought with each other so often that they once upended the dinner table in a restaurant sending all five of our dinners and a table full of dishes crashing to the floor. Yet when they left home I was given the standard issue rose colored glasses and despite the fact that I know these thing to be true, I cannot seem to remember them as they happened.  My husband, I fear, was given a matching pair.

The story of one son drawing on every wall of a rental house with a blue marker somehow seems incredibly funny now, though I am going to guess when I was repainting the walls I saw it differently.  I know that from age eleven to thirteen, I was “ruining their lives,” “the worst” and “didn’t understand anything…anything!”  But when I envision them stomping up the stairs and slamming doors as they pronounced these invectives, truly I want to laugh, they seem so cute.

Now, when I watch them reunite with each other, big guy bear hugs all around, it is hard to remember that they regularly scratched each other’s faces until they bled and more than once my response to an Emergency Room physician question of, “how did he do it,” was two words, “his brother.”  So why is it that my memory plays such tricks on me?  Why do the years of my children living at home, my almost empty nest, only now seem idyllic? When I look at these young adults it somehow seems hilarious that tables flew, china broke, and other diners looked on in horror. With my new glasses, I remember falling asleep with all three in our bed, climbing miles up mountains in Yosemite, viewing movies in darkened cinemas with our  small children cuddled on our laps, watching hard fought battles on high school soccer fields, and graduations and college visits and …you have got to get a pair of these glasses.

What memories do you have of your children that you see through your own rose colored glasses?  We begin a list of RCG examples from our readers.

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Parenting from the Empty Nest
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18 Responses to My New Glasses

  1. momshieb says:

    OH, I most definitely have those glasses, too! My children all had asthma and severe allergies, and we did dozens of nights rocking one or the other in a recliner all night. At the time, I was completely exhausted and overwhelmed. Now I get teary eyed with love at the memory of holding those precious, wheezing little bodies close in the dark. I miss being able to calm and soothe and make everybody feel better.
    Great post! Thanks!

    • Hopefully we get to do it all again with grandchildren…someday. You never know what you have in you, until you become a mom, do you? Thanks for commenting–we love our readers!

  2. belfman says:

    Crossing swords, which was my son and a friend standing on each side of the toilet peeing and seeing if they would cross in the middle and of course ended up with me scrubbing the bathroom! Or my daughter deciding to bake Julia Child’s souffle for her brother’s birthday, you can imagine what the kitchen and the souffle looked like when she was done! I remember rocking on the front porch with a baby with croup and even bringing one home from the hospital on an oxygen monitor so I could put his sister on the school bus for the first morning of kindergarten. I wouldn’t trade any of it and they are all healthy, wonderful young adults that I am blessed to have in my life. I still haven’t taken off the glasses and never will!

    • It is so nice that we all get a pair to wear so that we can carry these wonderful memories forever. A mess in the kitchen used to be a big deal, now…just makes you smile, doesn’t it? Thanks so much for your comment.

  3. Mary Dell Harrington says:

    Go to sleep! Our bedroom was across from a tiny one we used as a nursery. After they grew out of the crib and began to sleep in a twin bed, they were free to come and visit us which they did, sometimes multiple times during each night. Now, looking back through RCG, I se our daughter’s little face, smiling sheepishly into our room, hoping for an invitation to join us. Sweet memory.

  4. lichty says:

    It was my REAL glasses (i.e., the ones I actually needed to see) that conjure this memory: My baby girl, ornery, obstinate, stubborn to no end, barely able to speak, shrieking at the top of her lungs “I want my Daddy”. When I replied “Daddy is not home, but Mommy is here” she looked me square in the eye and said “I NO LIKE YOU…..I ONLY LIKE MY DADDY”. At which point I hurled my own glasses across the room whereupon they shattered into many pieces. Hey, it was that or beating her senseless. Now whenever I retell this story, I giggle and admire the wonderful young woman she has become.

    • These glasses turn tears into giggles, too bad they didn’t give us a pair when the kids were younger! I am guessing you were not laughing at your broken glasses, but you have made the rest of us laugh now…

  5. My first one took a ball-point pen and wrote the letter “x” on every wall in our house. To this day, we do not know why. We didn’t discover some of them until we were trying to actually SELL the house several years later.

    God issues us rose-colored glasses to prevent us from cutting the kids out of our will.

  6. Great post. Driving home from shopping when my daughter was around 18 mos, she began crying loudly. It wasn’t a cry of pain, she was safe in her car seat, it was just a short ride home and there wasn’t really anything I could do about it at the moment so I kind of tuned her out and was having an enjoyable day in spite of the noise. After a couple of minutes the exasperated voice from the backseat said, “Hey! You not listen me!” It made me laugh then, makes me laugh now.

  7. I think I have those glasses too. My oldest in a junior in college and my youngest will be a freshman in college this year. Sometimes I really believe I would do it all over again if I could even though it wasn’t easy the firs time around.

    • At the time it didn’t seem possible that we would want to see those days again. With the help of my new glasses, I would replay any of them–except for scary ER visits! Thanks for visiting.

  8. I think I’ve started putting on those glasses now with my 17 year old. The years from 13-16 were full of teenage angst. Now that he is starting to emerge as his adult self, I certainly view those experiances in a more positive way.

  9. Sharon Guenthner says:

    I have to say, coming from a family with eight children we multiplied the memories and now funny stories we rehash at family get togethers. My older brother getting stuck in the chimney of the neighbors outdoor grille (still not sure wy
    hy or how), sneaking in pets like turtles and frogs to our basement because Dad said he could barely feed us let alone any pets, that weary look Mom had when our household had an epidemic of stomach virus and we would sleep on mats next to the bathroom in hopes of making it to the toilet.

    • Sharon, I can only imagine what it must have been like with such a large family and now, getting together, the great number of stories you share. Would love to know more about your brother getting out of that chimney! Thanks for adding your stories to our rose colored glass collection.

  10. Patty says:

    My son comes home to visit and all the reality comes right back in my face. I also sat behind about 6 little kids under the age of 10 at church today. That’ll bring all the reality right back also.

    I need my rose colored glasses to continue to send them love and support from far away 🙂

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