Mama, do you ever wonder how your children will remember you? How do they see you? What will you look like in their memories when they’re older? I watch movies where they have these beautiful images of their mothers in their minds. You know, the mother montage that shows her hair blowing in the wind, looking very Jennifer Aniston meets Mother Teresa. Who doesn’t want their children to remember them in a beautiful way? You know, a movie kind of mother, who’s patient and kind and amazing?
This crosses my mind occasionally and then I look in the mirror and see my tired eyes and messy bun, not the cute kind, the real frizzy crooked kind. I am just a little bit of a hot mess, and I’m usually hollering things like ‘we’re late, get the chickens out of the car”, “where are your pants, stop punching your brother”. I have to wonder if my children will only remember a loud, crazy, mess of a mother.
I want to tell you, mama; that is not what they will remember.
A couple of weeks ago, after I had my surgery, I was in my closet getting ready to take my son to karate. I was still swollen, and the wounds from the stitches had not healed, so my choices outside of loose pajama pants were limited. I put on a stretchy, cotton skirt and a maternity tank top (to be clear I am not still nursing, I’m just that classy). I know, you’re getting a gorgeous picture in your mind. I was sporting my usual make-up free face and frizzy bun. I think I am giving up the term “messy bun” because some women pull it off so well and I want you to understand, mine looks I rolled out of bed with a hangover.
So, my son came into the closet as I was getting ready. He looked up at me and smiled; I noticed his breath caught. He had stars of admiration in his eyes. “Are you going on a date?” he asked. Here I was looking extra rough, and I could see that I took his breath away. “Mama” he whispered, “you look beautiful.” It was the most genuine compliment I’ve ever received. My heart just melted. I knew he meant it wholeheartedly. How he sees me, how he will remember me, was reflected in his sweet face. It just hit me.
That is how they see us, mama. That is how your children will remember you.
They will forget those moments we beat ourselves up for, the mistakes that keep us up at night. They will forget the time you lost your temper and yelled terrible things. They will forget you dropped them off at Mother’s Day Out every day in yoga pants and they will forget when you were too exhausted to get off the couch. What they will remember is so much more than you ever give yourself credit for.
They will remember the first voice they ever heard. Your loving face gazing down at theirs will be imprinted on their souls. They will remember you took them on grand adventures, even if it was only in the back yard. They will remember your comfort when they had nightmares and how you tended to them when they’re sick. They will never know the sacrifices you have made, but in their hearts, in the memories, they will always feel it. And the images they hold dear will reflect everything that is beautiful about you.