Sometimes I wonder what my children will remember of their childhood. I wonder if they will remember the little rituals we have created, I hope that these things we do will carry on into their adolescence and adulthood and then spill over into their life as parents.
I think about how my oldest and I play the “I love you as much as” game where we name the biggest things we can imagine. I hope she always remembers that she loves me as “big as a T-Rex”. I hope that when they look back they see the love I have in my eyes while I watch them play together. I hope they never question my pride in them. I hope they always know how beautiful I find them, how smart and imaginative. How brave and strong I know they are. I hope that when one of them turns into a teenager they still tell me that they Super Love me. Which is so much more than just loving me. I hope they remember that sometimes they even Super Duper Love me.
I hope my youngest remembers the lazy mornings spent with me trying to cuddle her and her trying to climb every surface in our home, but I know she won’t. I wish there was some way to record for her the feeling I have when I watch her drift off to sleep in my arms; her little hands resting softly on my skin, her eyes closed and fingers slightly curled in her complete assurance of peace, safety and security; that nothing bad could ever happen as long as she was in Mommy’s arms. The memories she makes now are only stepping stones. She has learned that when we say “I love you” to come over and give us a kiss. She has just learned that “Bye-Bye” means that the alarm on our back door will soon chime and that daddy will be gone for a little while. She has learned that if she holds on to our pants we can’t make as hasty a departure. I hope she has also learned that whenever she looks at us with outstretched arms we will always – always – pick her up and give her a snuggle and a kiss.
I wonder if they will ever write the story of their life and childhood. Will they say that they knew from an early age that they would sporadically and reliably lose their mother for a short time to a book? That there would be times when they knew to cling to daddy a little more because their mother was in a different world, a world that she sometimes seemed to prefer because of the slight irritation she would show when interrupted from the pages that enveloped her.
Will my oldest remember the love and attention I showered on her as I put their waist length hair in soft curlers for the first time? Or just that I bribed her with miniature bags of M&Ms to get her to let me…
Will they think of the afternoons we spent, all three together, in the big chair reading a book – wrestling the soft paper pages out of the baby’s reach as to not let her tear them.
I wonder if I have filled up their heart with loving memories that will last long enough to override the instinctive pulling away as they become their own persons.
I wonder when my cuddle hugs will be less important to them, because I can’t imagine them ever being less important to me.
I know that the mark of a good mother is that their children no longer need them, that as a mother I had adequately prepared them for the world outside my arms. I want some kind of assurance that I have filled up their reserves with so much of my love that whenever they need it they can draw upon it and have me be close. I want them to grow and succeed and at some point start the whole process over with their children, but more than anything, more than anything in this whole world or the next, I want my babies to always remember that they are my whole heart. That they are all the love in my body made mortal, tangible, and real. That I didn’t even know what true unbridled love even was until I saw their little tiny faces looking back at me. That while in reality I will encourage them to go forth into the world and discover their true love that in my heart I will cling to them and keep them close and locked away, never to be lonely or hurt; disappointed or heartbroken.
Sometimes I wonder what my children will remember of their childhood and most of all I hope they remember me loving them. More than they will ever be able to imagine… I love them.