Mother’s Day. I remember the time it dawned on me that I was essentially writing my Mom Memoirs each day as I mothered the half dozen children God had given to us. I decided that thinking about how I wanted to be remembered would help me in the daily grind of being a mom. (Not that I always succeeded, mind you!) I wrote this fifteen years ago when our children were ages four to fourteen. This article was first printed in The Southside Breeze. It can be found in my book Southside Glimmers.
If you’re a mom of young children, you might want to sit down and think about what is most important to you. If you have a goal, it will help you stay focused. If you think about the things you hope your children will remember about you when you’re gone, it will help you when you’re in the trenches of parenting now. Here is what I wrote back in 2000.
The days move by so rapidly, and it seems there’s barely time
To notice all that’s happening in this bustling house of mine.
Still — moments come, and moments go, and though it may be small,
My children change from day to day — and I hardly see it at all.
Yet when my days are over and it’s time to say good-bye,
I want to be remembered as a mom who laughed and cried.
I’d like, when my kids talk of me, to know that they will say
Their mom could put a lot of fun into an ordinary day.
I’d like to know they treasured the days we went on walks,
The books we shared together and insights from late-night talks.
I want to be remembered as a mom who found the time
To make homemade bread, strawberry jam, or a favorite: apple pie.
I want to be remembered, when my little ones are grown,
As a mom who let them help her bake, or make cookies on their own.
I want them to remember the little things I’ve taught,
Like washing hands and brushing teeth, and saying “excuse me” when you ought.
I’d like to be remembered for being firm, yet kind,
For listening to their stories, and teaching them to mind.
I hope they will remember that the days when they were sick,
How Mom would leave her tasks undone to cuddle, hold, and kiss.
I’d like to be remembered for their nightly tucking in,
For kissing them goodnight with a comradely little grin.
Oh, I know that they’ll remember that some days I was a grouch
And fussed because they made a mess in my freshly vacuumed house!
But mostly I would want to know that they will someday say,
“’Though we tracked in lots of dirt, Mom would clean it all away.”
I know I’ll be remembered by my lists for tasks assigned,
But I hope they’ll also realize that I had their best in mind.
I’m sure they’ll smile and talk about the way I pitched a fit
When I caught them outside playing with not one job completed yet!
Yet I hope that they will understand as they ponder on those scenes,
That they were really being groomed for life — I wasn’t being mean.
I hope they will remember I could not condone a lie,
An honest answer’s always right no matter who the guy.
I want to be remembered for developing moral health,
That integrity’s the bottom line — not fame or having wealth.
Who believed in him, respected him, and was his greatest fan.
I want them to remember the love they saw expressed,
The security and strength they felt when love was at its best.
I know they will remember there were times we didn’t agree,
And that marriage is a lot of work for people ordinary.
Yet I hope that they can realize and remember later on,
That commitment is the tune we hold to sing our marriage song.
I want to be remembered for the faith which I embrace,
For commitment to my calling as a woman empowered by grace.
I want to be remembered for passing my faith’s baton,
Encouraging and cheering them as their race continues on.
I want to be remembered as a mom who gave them wings,
Allowed them their encounters with heartaches and broken things.
I hope they’ll come to realize love does not protect from pain,
That maturity in character comes from experiences gained.
The days move by so rapidly. As each one goes, I say,
“What is it that I’ve done to make memories pleasant today?
What is it, my precious one, that I can do for you
To make you glad that you’re my child — that I love you through and through?
For when I’m gone my children will recall days spent with me,
Whether I took the time to make them each a pleasant memory.
Then as the days and months go by and flow on into years,
The memories will hold them close through laughter and through tears.
The days move by so rapidly! Yet I have time today
To make them cheerful, happy, bright, or make them dismal gray.
I want to be the kind of mom on whom they can depend,
Remembered not only as a mom, but also as a friend.