Planting new memories brings healing
Little whispers and giggles.
Tip-toe. Tip-toe. Tip-toe.
Blankets ruffle at the end of the bed... only the tops of my children's heads could be seen for they were doing their best to hide not only themselves, but an ever-growing enthusiasm at the prospect of the morning's find: a glorious Easter basket.
I would be willing to bet anyone with a child has relished these moments. Good luck keeping the kids contained while you try to get some much needed rest that early weekend morning.
Most adults have fond memories of childhood holidays: the tantalizing prospect of jolly St. Nick leaving you that new bike, the family gathering around for turkey meal complete with trimmings, or holiday family get-togethers with everybody getting along.
I would like to recall those moments as fond, though that would be a reality that wasn't in my home or foster homes. For me, that frenzied excitement in anticipation of finding an Easter basket died when I was very young, much too young to lose hope in those miraculous moments of childhood bliss. Never under- standing what all the fuss was about, I never cherished the true meaning of all those past holidays because they presented no meaning to me.
Here is where I remind myself to stop. You see, there are plenty of us who may not have had those magical childhood moments of colorful shiny chocolate eggs or whimsical dreams of sugar plums dancing or otherwise. Not everyone gets that, but I will tell you what we do have. As parents we all have the unique ability to give our children everything we always wished we could have had - the power to right past wrongs and the integrity to give our children the world.
Oh, how my daughter and son's faces lit up as they searched for those baskets Easter morning! I couldn't help but smile and feel a tremendous sense of pride. Their squeals of excitement gave me a sense of the seeds for happy childhood memories my wife and I are planting within them. This notion gave me a powerful sense of healing, one that helps to erase memories my own past and bring forth a new sense of self within my heart.
Upon thanking my Lord for the generosity he has provided me, I now begin to better understand the joy of holidays, of families and love, and look forward to many more.
Editor's note: Joe Johnson and his wife Amanda have two children. He is a licensed master trainer/consultant for St. Joseph's Area Health Services Community Health Nurturing Fathers Program and is a case manager for the FATHER Project, a program funded by Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota. To learn more about participating in Fathering Skills classes, call him at 255-2063 or e-mail josephjohnson@catholic health.net.