Being the Mom I Want Them to Remember
I think it might be morbid. I don’t know if I am compared to other people because of my inability to live inside another person’s deepest darkest fears. But also because of our relatively recent inability to be anything remotely resembling honest to one another. But, still, I think I might be a bit obsessed with the fact that one day, I wont be here anymore.
I think about it quite a lot, if I’m honest. Mostly I wonder if I will die some sort of horrid violent death, or an equally horrid slow and painful sickness type of death. And 100% of my morbid fears revolve around my kids, of course. My internal monologue often runs something like, “If that car were to run that red light right now and t-bone my car, I would be killed instantly and my children would have no mother.” Or similarly, “If this full parking lot suddenly collapsed due to shoddy maintenance record keeping and repairs that were overdue by 10 years, and I fell two stories to only then be crushed by falling rubble, I would die. And then my children would have no mother.” Do other people think about things in this way? I have no idea.
I’ve been told that I am so relaxed, and mostly that’s true. I don’t worry about the type of things that consume most people (or so they say). I worry about how I will die. And that my young children will have no mother.
And common logic applied, this is a useless experiment in anxiety, as they always are. But, the one thing that this morbid fascination does for me, and for my children, is that it forces me to be the mother I want them to remember.
Does that make sense? When I die…when I’m gone and all they have of me is the memory of the way I made them feel, I want it to be of having not one iota of doubt in their minds that they were loved. I want them to remember that their mother loved them, above all else. I want them to think of me and remember our laughter and silly inside jokes. I want them to remember kindness, and hugs, and paying attention to them when they told me a story, and of taking their problems seriously and of letting them be themselves (even when the outfit my daughter chooses looks completely ridiculous to me). I want them to think of me and remember calling my name, and even if I was busy or frustrated or tired or sad or the million other things mothers are, that I responded to them with love in my voice and that even if I couldn’t help them at the time they never doubted that they were loved.
Am I strange? Am I morbid? Am I vain and naive enough to believe I can control other people’s memories of me? But, surely, I can. Because, if I always act like the person I want to be remembered to be, then surely I am that person now? Does that make me the kind and loving mother? Or a faulty and broken one, merely playing the part? Does it matter?
I guess I’ll never know. But I do know one thing, with confidence…I’m still alive, and my kids glow with the knowledge of being loved. And that in itself, is worth the weight of the fear.
(Art Credit: Cate Graham, the 15 year old daughter of one of our writers!)