Thursday, December 6, 2012

What I Hope They Remember

One of my friends was here the other day and mentioned another mommy friend and said, "I just feel so inadequate around her.  I swear she never yells at her kids or loses her patience".  I agreed that said mom was indeed patient, but then added, "A lot of it is practice and experience". The mom making the comment has two children, the oldest being four.  The mom she spoke of has five kids, the oldest being 12.  In some ways, the more kids and more practice you have, the easier it gets to be patient.

I am a much better mother now than I was when Keilana was 3 and Dylan was 1 1/2.  First of all, a precocious, independent 8-year-old is much easier to be patient with and encouraging to than a precocious and independent 3-year-old (in most ways, anyway).  But I'm a much better mother to the 3-year-old and 1 1/2-year-old I have now than to the ones I had five years ago.  I've learned a lot, I've grown up a lot, and I've learned some lessons.  I always knew it was important to pick your battles, but I now have a better grasp on which ones are worth picking.  I've learned better organization and time and home management, making us all a lot happier and more patient.

That said, I still fall short a lot of days (or, more accurately, in a few ways every day).   So I hope that I do well enough that my kids remember the good things more than the bad. I know that she won't remember the nights from baby through toddlerdom where I stood  by her bed, holding her and singing hymns and Primary songs softly to soothe her to sleep when it seemed sleep would not come, standing and rocking until my back ached, but hopefully they will remember, somewhere in their unremembered memories, that tenderness and affection when they think of me. And I hope they remember that I kept singing those soft songs to them each night at bedtime, well into the big kid years. I hope they remember walks to the park and trips to the library.  I hope they remember me gleefully stomping and growling along with them as we read "Where the Wild Things Are".  I hope they remember those evenings sitting together in the livingroom with our scriptures open and that we try to to have family prayer every day.  I hope they remember sitting there shrieking in frustration while I calmly and quietly waited for the storm to pass so we could get back to learning to tie shoes. I hope they remember the random, impromptu side roads and day trips that add adventure to their lives and how much we all loved doing those things together.

And as I thought about all that, I was struck that this is the reason I have such affection for so many of the people who were in my life the last few years: they saw it all, the good, the bad and the ugly, but chose always to remember only the good and the beautiful in me, and reminded me of those things often.  I became better because they saw the best in me.  That's what I hope to give my kids, and hopefully I'll be good enough at it that they will be willing to reciprocate for me in their grown-up memories.

And, hopefully, I can get better at that with the adults in my life, too.  . . . .

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