The Opposite of Nostalgia

bandaid-1-140.jpgWith a child this big (6-years-old), right here and now throws everything else into shadow. Either that, or I’ve got some kind of weird memory disease. But I am often struck by how long gone our kid’s earlier childhood–and earlier parenting–seems. Memories from just last year can be like somebody else’s family videos.
Once in a while, though, it all comes back. And more than anything I want to go back to when our child was younger. Blindsides and hurts, this parental nostalgia, but also a window on the best, best times.
Then there’s the opposite–stuff comes back that I couldn’t stand. And I’m surprised at how much I couldn’t stand it. Happened just the other day at Whole Foods. Walking by the baby food shelf, I looked at all the little jars with cloying faux-country labels proclaiming wholesomeness–fruits and veggies that never watch TV–and ludicrous prices and felt a wave of loathing. A thought, surprising in its power and vehemence arose:


Thank God, I will never, ever have to buy this sh** again.
We, like many over-invested parents, used to feed our baby out of Whole Foods. Since I was at home, I did the buying, dutifully and without much feeling one way or another.
However, as I just discovered, I hated it. Not sure why. Who knew?
More anti-nostalgia comes to mind, always minor sideshows. Actual challenges–like, say, late but fierce colic, ER-grade vomiting and diarrhea at Lake Tahoe–don’t seem so bad. I’d go through them again, just to get to the good parts. But I never, ever want to go back to, and will never miss…

  • Mommy (Daddy) And Me Before Preschool
  • Dora The Explorer
  • The Wiggles
  • Obsesso-pink girliness
  • Disney Princess anything
  • Our nanny’s wars with the neighbors’
  • Trying to do the girl’s hair (I sucked at combing and brushing; she screamed)
  • Hello Kitty

There’s more, but now it’s your turn. What don’t you miss?
Post by Mike Steere, writer, stay-at-home dad and blogger of Pater-familias.
Illustration by Peter Arkle.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I really, really miss Dan Zanes and all the other family music I was told was good for my kids and I pretended to enjoy…
    (And those wonderful, fake-ass learning, Baby Einstein videos.)
    Oh, wait.
    Thankfully, I don’t have to remember any of that.
    As for NOT missing things? Happily, I can say nothing– I miss it all.
    But I tend to forget things I don’t like.
    As John Mayer says, “I don’t remember you looking any better,
    But then again I don’t remember you…”

  2. The KIDS on Barney. They seemed like stepford children. I used to imagine them getting loaded into the back of a run-down van after the taping and locked in some warehouse with nothing but porridge and paint chips to eat until the next day…One of them should write a tell-all book (contract be damned) if any of them survived that is…

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