I wonder what my kids will remember about me.
Sometimes that thought keeps me up late at night. Sometimes it wakes me in the middle of the night.
I’ll wake in the dark, look at the time, try to roll over and then…then my mind will become flooded with thoughts and what ifs? and instead of catching up on the sleep I’ve lost for twenty years I’ll be awake.
Wondering. Worrying. Wishing.
Those are the times when the guilt of the day likes to creep in. I’ll lay there and think about how I was short-tempered or that the game I promised to play is now gathering dust on the end table as the days slip by. I’ll wonder about the homework or regret not reading. I’ll remember the pile of dishes waiting to be loaded. I’ll worry if I’m doing enough. I’ll think about all the projects pinned and trips hoped for and times where I vowed that I wouldn’t lose my cool and then, once again, I did.
I so want to be a good mom.
I’ve always wanted that.
I think I wonder about it all because I wonder what they’ll remember.
If they’ll remember the times I got frustrated over the chip bag left open or the juice boxes left on the counter empty. I wonder if they will realize that so much of the time I really had no clue what to do and was just winging it. I can just see all those moments that I feel like I fail.
So I wonder. And in that rawness sometimes tears will fill my eyes.
Tears of trying and loving and trying and stumbling and trying and giving.
I love them.
I can convince myself I need to be better. And in those moments I forget.
I forget how I know that my third grader loves banana peppers for his turkey sandwich. I forget the hundreds of notes scribbled on post it paper and stuffed into lunch boxes. I forget the times sitting in the waiting room trying to entertain toddlers. I forget the meals scraped together and the forced smile on my face as no one seems to like it. I forget the crawling under beds to retrieve socks and lego pieces. I forget the times wiping down bathrooms and vacuuming rooms. I forget the moments sitting at the table for what seems like forever as we work on division.
I don’t want them to remember supermom.
I want them to remember me.
Their mom who loved enough to stick it out with them and wake up day after day after day. Their mom who stumbled and messed up but had the humility to meet them and look them in the eyes and tell them with tears in her own eyes that she was sorry.
The world may tell me I need to be more of everything.
My kids tell me they just need me.
Maybe they won’t ever realize how much we give. How much I give.
Wake up, get them up, start the routine for the hundredth time plus a hundred plus years in a row moment. Make coffee, add creamer, cook eggs, add salt and pepper. Remind them to get socks on. Check backpacks. Give them a hug. Wake another. Unload the dishwasher.
The frets of the night are replaced with the frets of the busy.
Moving, holding, prodding, loving, giving.
The cry of motherhood remembered.
We are the constant.
The one who wakes them, the one who launders their clothes, the one who waves goodbye from the van at school, the one who shows up when the nurse calls, the one in the auditorium smiling over the awards, the one greeting the bus, the one making them do homework, the one who makes their bed and tidies the room, the one who calls them to dinner, the one the come to in the middle of the night.
They aren’t going to remember perfection.
They’re going to remember their mom.
Rest sweet mom. You are doing amazing things.
You just might not see them now.
But trust me, it matters.
That’s what they will remember.