Sunday, May 8, 2011
How will they remember me?
Ocean is memory.
Today is Mother's Day. It's raining as I write in the dim light of a cloudy morning. It is quiet except for the sound of water pattering on the aluminum eaves, percussion to accompany bird notes.
Memories of my mother float to the surface and wash up on the shore. We live far from one another but I can see her in this morning light, reading and soaking up the silence. We are alike. We are different. There were times when I chose to remember the sharks in the ocean instead of the pearls. There were things she tried to give me which I refused. There were things she gave me that no matter how hard I try to discard, remain firmly rooted in my being. I expended a great deal of energy attempting to be different, while at the same time I tried to do everything just like my mother. I take great pleasure in preparing her recipes. I learned to sew things, to keep a fresh clean my home like she did, to plant flowers and to delight children. I wish I had the devotion she has, for God. I aspire to the compassion she has for the sick, the elderly, the young and everyone in between. To describe her life is nearly impossible.
It is in remembering my mother that I know how to be a mom to my children. I have made variations, but her model is still at the core.
My children will have memories of me. This also informs how I try to live my life. I want them to have lots of pearls and not too many shark teeth. Who knows what will stand out in their minds? Who knows what will wash up on the shore as they grow and live their independent lives?
I really don't have much of a choice in this. Parenting is the biggest risk any of us can take. It can be hugely rewarding, or sad and difficult. It can be lonely when they're gone.
To Mom if you are reading this, I love you.
To my children, if you are reading this, I love you too.
Happy Mother's day.