I’m a worrier. I worry about everything.
I worry about my kids safety and wellbeing. I worry about the terrible state our country is in and what impact it’s going to have on my children’s future. I worry about childhood illnesses and diseases and the odds my children may contract one. I worry about world peace and starving children. I worry about our society and how backward we have become as a human race.
I worry about silly stuff too – The washing on the line as the clouds roll in, the mess my house was left in as I ran out the house this morning, the unreturned phone call of a friend who I haven’t seen because I keep blaming the busyness of life. I worry about marks on the walls, messy cupboards and stains on a brand new pair of jeans. I worry about wearing a costume in the summer time and how I will hide the lumps and bumps that have become a permanent part of my body. I worry about wrinkles and wish I had listened to my mom when she told me to wear a moisturizer with an SPF. Yes, I worry about trivial stuff a lot of the time too.
But the thing I have become most worried about lately is what my children think when they look at me, or more importantly how they will remember me when I’m gone. When I think about the memories they will be left with I feel that unequivocal strain of anxiety rise up in my gut. I feel the weight of responsibility as I realise how significant it is that I teach them valuable lessons, but also to live my life the best I can so that they will always be able to reflect on those things and be inspired to do the same.
More specifically I don’t want them to adopt my fears and anxieties when it comes to the trivial stuff. I don’t want them to see how I got so caught up in these things to the point that they effected how I lived. I want their lives to be free of the kind of angst and trepidation that was so evident in mine.
It got me thinking that there are probably only a couple of really vital things I want my children to remember about me!
- I want my children to remember I was happy. While I certainly don’t think happiness is the most important thing on this list (or in life) I really just want them to remember me to be a happy and content person. I want them to know that they were a huge source of that joy.
- I want my children to remember I cared. I hope they will remember I cared about every little aspect of their lives, no matter how big or small. I also want them to remember that I cared for others – the weak, the poor, the suppressed.
- I want my children to remember that I believed in them. They must know that when I said they could be anything or do anything, I meant it.
- I want my children to remember that I meant well even when I messed up. It’s important they know that despite my bad judgment at times, I always strived to be the best mom I could be. Getting it wrong meant I was human and that ultimately I also needed grace. I hope they look back and remember the times I said I’m sorry.
- I want my children to remember that I loved them more than they could ever imagine. The type of love that was unconditional and knew no bounds. The type of love that at times involved discipline, boundaries and a firm voice of reasoning.
- I want my children to remember I always tried to put them first and the choices we made (although sometimes hard) were always with their best interests in mind.
- I want my children to remember my spirit of adventure and fun. I really hope they remember me to be the crazy cat I am and all the silly things we would get up to like dancing to will Jimmy Fallon’s Tight pants and talking in or own alien language or making up new names for each other on outings to the aquarium.
What I don’t want my children to remember is that I was too caught up in nonsense to be apart of their worlds – too busy on social media or writing or doing laundry that I missed their beautiful art displays or superhero jumps or funny tricks or silly jokes. I don’t want them to remember the amount of times I said no to something because what I was doing in that particular moment was more important than taking the opportunity to be with them.
I really don’t want them to remember the way I contradicted myself on matters . where I would lecture them about not having tantrums, only to have my own.
I don’t want my kids to remember me moan about my body and talk myself down. I don’t want them to remember how I let the way I felt about myself effect the things I did.
I don’t want them to remember the screaming matches when I couldn’t get a handle on my own emotions and lost my shit for no good (enough) reason.
I don’t want them to remember the times that I spoke disrespectfully to their father because I couldn’t get a grip and talk calmly.
I don’t way them to remember the times I moaned at them about their mess, a broken vase or spilled juice when they were just being kids.
The list could go on. But as I write these things it begins to dawn on me that these are the very things that make me human. And when I die I want my children to know that I was just that. I was an imperfect mother who made mistakes and worried too much. I was flawed and often fell short of the idea of the perfect mother. But I also want them to know that I strived to be a better one each and every day I walked the planet.
As I sit here reflecting I realize that just as my children need grace, so do I. As a mom who is constantly learning as I go, I need a superior kind of grace to wash over me daily so that I can live in the freedom knowing that although I’m not perfect, I am the perfect fit for my boys.
Above all I hope they can look back when I am gone and know that all these things were true.