I sat holding Rowan in his rocking chair the other day with the afternoon light coming through the blinds. He was calm, waiting for me to read him another book before I lay him down for his nap. I looked around his bedroom. There was the little hand-me-down bookcase in the corner with some new and some tattered board books. The dresser was covered with recently folded clothes needing put away. And his crib. His crib that I had always intended to make new and exciting for him since before he was born. With a sewn white crib skirt, perhaps, and something new for the fifth baby like a pretty bumper pad. And the bare wall behind his crib. I had spent many nursing and rocking hours that first year of his life staring at that wall coming up with ways to fill it. And yet, as I rocked Rowan this day, it still was bare.
I’m absolutely positive that I would have been bothered by the undone, the “unfinished” project that, if all completed nicely, would have made me feel like I had things all together in my life. I would have probably mentally marked it as one more incompleted item on a list of 564 things and felt that twinge of guilt from inconsistency in my stomach.
But that’s not who I allow myself to be anymore. My many unfinished little details to his room, for example, that would have made for a pretty room and only encouraged the need for perfection in other aspects of my life isn’t worth it. Instead I let months pass of real living, real diaper changing and singing to sleep and book reading in that room; with or without the bumper pad and crib skirt. I take care to carefully choose my projects, my goals, how my time is used and in that moment of scanning my sweet little boy’s room as he loved me and I loved him–all I felt was this is perfect. This is exactly as it should be.
I’ve felt those exact feelings many more times recently then I probably have over the course of many years. This is perfect. This is exactly as it should be. Like last night when my oldest two stayed up and styled my hair, put lipstick and makeup on me, and played my requests on Rowan’s toy xylophone. I was tired. Run thin from a whole week without my other half. But those silly moments with my little girls–those little girls that are changing and maturing right before my eyes– were perfect.
How will my children remember me?
I so hope they remember that I tried–I really tried–and became a more patient, more relaxed, and honestly happier mother with time and more life lived. One that knew when to drop tasks to take walks outside with them. One that was fun and silly and knew how to make her kids laugh. I hope they remember that I was always trying to discover the best for them. And that I’d stay up late or get up early to put those discoveries into action. That I’d do whatever it took for the best for them.
I hope they remember that I needed them. I needed their incredibly bright and child-like perspective on life and new things and baby chicks. I needed to learn from their genuine forgiveness and undying curiosity…
The other day my girls waited and waited and waited for something special to come out of the oven. They knew I had tried something new and they just had to wait a bit longer. No peaking in the kitchen. Just wait. I had come up with something new and I was confident.
When the baking was finished and everyone invited in the kitchen, my four girls stood around the kitchen island with mostly crumbles of my failed macaroons, trying carefully to get the mess in their mouths and not on the floor. I was frustrated and disappointed. Annoyed to have gone through all the effort.
My Caroline, my dear Caroline, catching on quickly to how I was feeling said with a mouth full of lemony coconut, “Mommy, these macaroons are amazing!”
So, I put this recipe in the “to be tweaked” category and dug right in to the powdery macaroons with them. They didn’t care one bit that coconut was covering the whole surface area of the kitchen. All that mattered was it filled their tummy with goodness and I could now finally finish reading their book to them.
How do I hope they will remember me?
That I knew what was important in the very moment.
the sleepy time gal