The other day we had a backyard snack picnic.
It was a happy moment for me. The little guy was jabbering away about rocks and tweet-tweets and some things I have yet to understand. The baby felt perfectly snuggly and warm in my arms and was wide awake, amazed by the sights of this great big world.
I was soaking it up, really feeling the beauty of the moment, and wondered if it might be the kind of moment I remember for years to come.
Then I realized that neither of my children are going to remember this. My memories are my memories, nothing more. The things that define their childhood for me are not very likely to be the same things that define their childhood in their own minds.
It’s kind of neat, really.
My brother and I grew up in the same house with the same parents. We ate the same dinners, sat on the same couch, rode in the same vehicle to the same county fair and ate the same nachos. We went to the same church, played on the same elementary school playground, watched the same family movies and listened to the same lectures. And yet we grew up to live two completely separate lives filled with different memories. Some of his favorite memories are so unimportant in my own makeup that I barely remember them, and vice versa, while some of our favorite memories are the same.
It’s weird to me to think that someday these two children will be sitting in a café, chatting on the phone, driving in a car together, whatever, and will be talking about me. They’ll say, “Remember when Mom ____?” and “Remember that time Mom and Dad _____?”
There are times that I am blown away by thoughts like that. I am somebody’s mom. I am the foundation of somebody’s childhood, now two little somebodies. Someday their clothes will earn them an insult and they’ll say “I know. My mom picked it out.” Some Friday night they’ll call a friend back and say “My mom won’t let me come. She's the worst.” Someday they’ll sheepishly tell their new significant other, “I’m going to lunch with my mom on Thursday. I want you to come meet her.”
It’s pretty mind-blowing. I guess it’s just further incentive to try harder to be more patient, lose my temper less, treat these people I love with kindness. I want their memories to be filled with happiness. When they do remember me at my worst, I hope they have memories of me coming to them and apologizing immediately afterwards, of me doing my best to not let that slip-up happen again. If they are even half as nostalgic as I am their days will be filled with memories. They’ll feel these strange tugging feelings time and time again, so I hope they have more happy and beautiful memories than anything else.