Now—here in this chaotic madness of puberty, forming their own friendships, long days of ball practice after ball practice, long car rides to away games, rare dinner nights at our own kitchen table—is what they’re going to remember most of their childhood.
They’re not going to remember me rocking them to sleep every night for the first year or two of their lives. They’re not going to remember the little toddler trips to the park or library or playdates I took them on. They’re not going to remember whether I breastfed or bottle-fed them or the countless times I wiped their dirty bottoms.
When we first enter motherhood we put so much energy and thought into doing it just right those first few years.
Then we just get swept away as parenting life picks up like a runaway train on a nonstop trek to drop them off at adulthood.
As we drop our vision of being the perfect mom who’s always Mary Poppins happy and show our children our Ursala side as we rage out over dirty dishes and piles of laundry, I often find myself thinking, “Oh, my God, I hope this isn’t what they remember about their childhoods!”
Though I do remember that of my own mother, I also fully understand her anger from back then much better now that I’ve walked a few miles in her shoes. But I also know the other things I remember, that do take precedence over her losing her anger on us, are all the ways she showed up to us as a mom growing up and still now as adults.
So, I hope and I pray my own children remember the good too.
I can’t be perfect. I can’t even pretend to be happy all the time. Sometimes I’m stressed and overwhelmed and I do let it get the best of me because I am human after all.
Though I know they’ll remember some of the times I wasn’t always at my best, I hope they also remember the mom who always had the best car ride chats on those long away game days. I hope they remember the mom who made it to every possible game and performance she could, barely missing a thing. I hope they remember a mom who planned all those weekend adventures and summer road trips to escape life for a bit.
I hope they remember a mom who, though exhausted from long days at work, showed them to do a job they love and enjoy. I hope they remember a mom who, though we sometimes had to dig through piles upon piles of laundry, could almost always find the missing piece to the uniform. I hope they remember the mom who taught them how to make the best chocolate chip cookies.
I hope they remember the mom who loved hanging out with them.
I hope they remember the mom who, though not perfect by a long shot, really tried every day to be the best she could even if she was failing by 8 a.m. Though they won’t forget the worst version of me because she was real too, I hope they’re sure to remember the best version of me. I tried to be her as much as I could.