As I was reading over my “On This Day” Facebook reflection this morning, one of the memories was:
A classical woman. Not sure what that means, but I know that he meant it as a compliment.
That was five years ago today, and I know we are all well aware of how time is fleeting. Many of the building blocks of my son’s life are already in place—and much of how he sees me is already in place, too.
So…how will he remember me?
Like most people, I know I have fond and not so fond memories of my upbringing. My dad died much too soon, and my mom, at 89, is in the twilight of her years. My memories range far and wide, and often they are of the littlest things.
My dad’s Woody Woodpecker whistle as he came in the door from work.
My mom buying me a Push-Up (the frozen treat—not the bra) now and again after school.
My dad telling me after a haircut that he was glad I got it because I “looked like a poodle” due to an overzealous perm.
My mom telling me to never put my feelings for someone in writing because it could come back to hurt me. (Funny that I am a writer who is striving to do that very thing—though hoping to avoid the hurting part.)
I carry my own stories and ones that I carry with me from my parents—and my kid is beginning to do the same. As our only child, he will be the keeper of all our stories.
I know he is already collecting them. He asks questions about the grandfather he never knew, what my husband and I were like as kids, and what life was like “back then.”
So…how will he remember me?
Will he remember the woman who seemed to be listening but was always doing something else?
…who could be silly and make him laugh?
…who was always stressed about things that needed doing?
…who loved to hear about his day?
I suspect that it will be the little moments for him, too, that etch memories onto his heart.
Even when you do something big—like go to Disney World—it is the moments that stick. I don’t think the ice cream we had after a very long, sweltering day in the Magical Kingdom will ever be forgotten by me, my husband, or my son—it was a relaxed, delicious moment after a rather overwhelming day. The day is remembered as a fond blur—but that ice cream is still in sharp focus.
Knowing that the moments matter gives me hope that the impatient, nagging mom that I can all too often be might have a shot at being remembered for more than those regretful behaviors.
And so, while I work on becoming more patient and less pestering, all is not lost if I do my best to keep the moments coming.
The other day my son said to me, “Mom, we’ve got to make some gingerbread cookies. That’s on my bucket list!” I was caught off guard by his passionate plea because one—I didn’t know he even knew what a bucket list was, and two—I had no idea that he wanted to make these cookies. But guess what? You better believe that this will happen in our home this Christmas season. Amidst the flying of the flour and the rolling of the dough, I pray that there will be a moment in that time together that bonds to his heart much like the memory of ice cream at Disney.
Might I have a short-fused minute or a frustrated comment during that time, as well? Probably. But even if (and when) they do happen, as long as we can create a little bit of magic, my son may carry the story with him in years to come, and hopefully it will make his heart smile.
That’s my reality. I am not June Cleaver or Carol Brady. I’m not the cool moms I know who go to the trouble of creating “Elf on the Shelf” shenanigans. I’m just a hot mess of an everything these days—but still—if I keep seeing to those moments, I just may end up remaining a classical woman in my son’s heart after all.