The best thing about memories, is that they are your own. Despite a group of people being in the same place at the very same time, each person will walk away with a slightly different take on the day. Some will remember it forever as it was , some will forget it and some will exaggerate it so much, it ends up sounding more like an Enid Blyton story than a real life event.
In the minutes before my husband gets home from work, there is a sense of excitement that builds. We hear the gate open and my eldest son runs to the door in preparation for his cuddle. My husband bursts through the door looking exhausted, picks up his boy, kisses him, holds him upside down for a bit while the son screams for dear life. He then comes to kiss me and then our baby, while the eldest jumps about under his feet demanding more of his attention.The laughing, chasing and tickling goes on for the next half hour as they run around together upstairs while dad gets changed into his comfy after-work uniform’ (grey trackies and a hoody). I’ll shout up a few times telling them not to jump on the beds, or to ‘calm down’ while I start making the dinner and trying to quickly have a glass of wine by myself.
The other night in the middle of this chaos, it dawned on me that this daily ritual would be remembered by our children well after we had gone. That the things we are doing right now, in this very moment could be the things that our boys remember about us, and their childhood. The boys would remember the smell of their dad’s after shave lingering in the bathroom in the hours after he had left the house and how his socks smelt like cat wee after soccer training. They would remember him letting them use the shower head to water the imaginary flowers, and they will remember him taking them out on little walks without their pants or shoes on.
I was inspired to write about memories after reading a post by a fellow Blogger, who after being diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimers decided to record her memories before she forgot them. Yesterday she wrote so beautifully about spending the day with her daughter (Check it out it’s called …Before I forget …..http://mrshsgreen.wordpress.com) . It got me to thinking about the things I would remember about my own mum after she had gone:
Her Pink coat. She hasn’t worn it for years, but we will always remember her walking through the door in her bright pink coat…really was a tragic fashion error on her behalf and lets face it…pink only goes with….well actually not much.
Her Smelly feet. I’m really not even exaggerating here but they have to be smelt to be believed. After countless creams, washing, detergent, acid and bleach…the fact remains that you could be 3 rooms away and still know when she has moved her little toe as the stenchy waft of ‘mum feet smell’ finds it’s way to your nostrils.
Forgetfulness: Perhaps the most forgetful person I have ever come across. This used to be a huge source of annoyance for me, but the older I get the more I realize I am becoming like her and will probably be worse.
Her terrible hangovers. Without making her sound like a candidate for A.A, Mum has always enjoyed a festive drink. She would spend many Saturday afternoons, stuck under a blanket with a 2 litre bottle of Soda water, water crackers and cheese swirl after one too many Chardonnay’s. There would be no movement until at least 2pm on these ‘hung over days’. and you always knew that dinner that night would be a greasy takeaway. This is another thing I have inherited…terrible hangovers!
I will always remember Christmas’ with my mum. She was and still is Mrs Christmas. I’m not even sure if she personally loves it or just loves making it magical for those around her. The food, the music, the same magnetic fishing game with the tiny rod every year until well into our twenties.
She really is a bit like a female Jesus- minus the miracles and crucifixion. She has always loved without expecting anything in return. The most forgiving person I have ever met and if she could heal paraplegics I’m sure she would give it a good go. She hasn’t quite mastered walking on water, but she does do a cute penguin shuffle when she tries to walk too quickly.
Despite what mum wants us to remember about her…we will choose her legacy for ourselves.
See the thing is, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on trying to create memories for your children. It won’t matter what fancy holidays you took or the expensive shoes you did or didn’t buy for them…it will be the free, unrehearsed, untouched moments that they will remember. For the lucky ones it will be a a childhood filled with love, laughter and having to wear No Brand sneakers when all you wanted was Nikes, and for the not so lucky, and god knows they are great in number, childhood memories will be filled with fear, pain and uncertainty.
I don’t think many people know the exact point at which they have made a happy ‘memory’. But wouldn’t it be nice to know, just so you could freeze it, and truly enjoy being in that moment for a little while before it passes . We can’t manufacture what our children will remember about growing up. They will take with them what they will…but we can try and give them an abundance of happy times to choose from.
Make every interaction count. Always give them their moment in time. Even if they are asking you that annoying question for the tenth time…give them their moment. It might just be the one they take with them.