notesfromthetrenchesIII

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Memories

(This started off as a comment to my entry below on Little League. But it became so long and off the main topic that I decided to post it as an entry in it's own right. It is long and rambling, but I don't have the time to edit it as my wireless connection is still down (imagine me shaking my fist at the sky here and wailing)and I have landscapers outside digging up my yard with heavy equipment and small children who seem hell bent on getting run over by earth movers. Such is my life.)


What will my children remember?

I doubt they will remember the number of baseball games they have played. Time will ease their memories of how many games were lost. But they will remember that their father was there to coach when no one else was. They will remember that we made their desire to play a sport a priority for eight short weeks. They will remember what making a commitment means, inconveniences and all.

Next week my husband has to be out of the country on a business trip and will miss one game. He has asked for a parent volunteer to step in. Guess how many people have volunteered?

I'll be there. With five younger children, ages 7 and under.

I'll be there, sweating my butt off and my hair getting gray faster than I can color it from the stress of having to keep the two and four year olds out of trouble.

I'll silently curse the people who thought putting gravel everywhere around the fence ,where the bleachers are, was a good idea. My children will each weigh approximately 20 pounds more from all the gravel they have stuffed in their pockets to bring home. They'll tell me we don't have good rocks at home. And they are right, we don't. I like it that way. But I won't tell them that.

I'll be there. Not because I love baseball, but because it is important to them. I'll scream their names as they come up for bat. And when my tiny little 9 yr old pitches I'll scream, "You go, little man!" Later on he'll tell me he heard me cheering for him and he thought it was cool. I know that we are quickly approaching the time when I won't be able to do anything cool in his eyes. But, thankfully, we aren't there yet. He doesn't yet realize how very uncool I am. So I will cherish it, take it as a bittersweet compliment, probably giving it more weight than he intends.

I'll be there and I'll cheer for the other kids too. The ones whose parents aren't there, for whatever reason. When they come off the field after the game I'll give my children high fives and tell them how awesome they are. Whether they won or not. I'll commiserate and congratulate.

And we will talk about the game on the way home in the van. And we will laugh together. At some point I'll probably say, because I seem to have said it every other time, "So your team sucks, so what? *You* tried your very best and that is all that *you* can do." I'll make a mental note to remember that advice and be kinder to myself.

We'll probably stop to get drippy ice cream cones on the way home. The babies will fall asleep in the van and I'll have to carry their sweaty sticky bodies into the house. I'll nuzzle my face into their necks and inhale their baby smell. I already know that time passes so quickly and soon this stage will be over for me.

Their little bodies will sprawl across the couch and they will be in that deep sleep only small children are afforded. I'll wipe them down with a cool wet washcloth, trying to get as much of the dirt and icecream drippings off of them that I can.

I'll carry my daughter upstairs and put her to bed. I'll study her face for a minute after I lay her down, and brush the wisps of hair, which have curled up from the heat, off of her face. Even though she is asleep, I'll pause at the bedroom door and say, 'I love you.' I think she can hear me in her dreams.

Their older siblings will be running around the house re-enacting various parts of the game. I'll probably yell too much at them to settle down and go take their showers. I always seem to yell too much. But I'll laugh too. In spite of myself, my children will make me laugh.

And after what seems like an eternity, the children will all be in bed. I will kiss them all, tuck them into bed, and sing "twinkle, twinkle little star" a few times. Like I have every night for the past ten years, and like I will for at least the next ten, or however long they will let me.

I'll go downstairs and pick up the articles of clothing that have been discarded around the house and bring them to the laundry room. I'll straighten up around the house and kick the random shoes into a pile before I flop onto the couch.

Children will come downstairs, in turn, needing water, to use the preferred downstairs bathroom, get a hug, get a toy that has been forgotten, or just tell me something of earth shattering importance that has been forgotten until that moment. After several rounds of this I'll tell them that I am off duty and all further discussions will need to wait until morning. Someone will test this.

As I go to bed that night I'll check in on my children, all finally asleep. I will marvel at how big they are sprawled across their beds. The sight of their scraped knees and bruised shins will make me smile, because it will mean they were having fun playing outside. I'll see their sunkissed cheeks and the freckles across their noses. I can almost see the young man that my eldest son will grow into, his bed filled up with gangly arms and legs. I'll pull the sheets up and cover them back up.

Before I leave their rooms and close their bedroom doors, I'll pause for a moment to hear them softly breathe. Even though they are no longer babies, I still need to do this.

They don't know I do this. They will have no memory of it. They wouldn't understand anyway. Not until they have children of their own will they understand.

And days similar to this one will happen again and again. Another chance to do it better. Another chance to be the mother I long to be. Such is the benefit to be the younger children in a large family.

What will my children remember? I don't know.

I hope time will soften the edges off their memories. I hope that they remember me kindly and forget the times I lost my temper. I hope they will realize I always tried my best, though at times it probably won't be enough, and I will disappoint them. I will hurt their feelings, without ever meaning to. And some of their deepest hurts I probably won't know about until years later. I hope they will remember a childhood of laughter, and less of sadness. I hope they remember me as a better mother than I felt like I was. I hope they remember how important they were to me. I hope they will forgive my failures.


This is how I'll remember it all. I hope that it is good enough.

I'll hope I was good enough

28 Comments:

Blogger Ash-bray Etty-hay said...

Beautiful! :)

7:07 PM  
Blogger Ring Master said...

Now, I usually come here to get my laughter fix, when everything seems to be crashing down around my ears and I'm feeling sorry for myself. But you had me in tears today. Thank you for the sweet commentary of a loving mother's day. I love your blog!

7:11 PM  
Blogger novaks8 said...

Chris,
I read your blog every day. In fact I often worry that you will look at your stat counter and fear that I am some crazed stalker because I visit your site so often!
Yours just happens to be my favorite blog.

usually I read for a laugh but this post made me cry. Literally sit here and cry because it is so great to see how I feel about MY kids in print.

I also cry because I am sad for parents who do not feel this way about their children. Parents who treat their children as an inconvenience instead of a blessing.
The people who act like I am crazy for having 6 children surely don't feel these feelings you have described or they would not wonder why I have 6.
No, I am not the perfect mother who never gets annoyed with her children....I just realize that this too shall pass and one day I will wish they were here again playing baseball and catching frogs.

:)
Thanks

7:23 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Wow. I'm crying. Beautifully said. :) And I happen to think you are an awesome mother and I hope that I grow into th emohter that you are.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I imagine you will be, at least for some.

Janis Gore

10:16 PM  
Blogger Carmen said...

That was truly amazing. You are a wonderful writer.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Jane_hates_Dick said...

::Sob:: I read this to my husband and could barely finish. This was beautiful.

11:24 PM  
Blogger rugdesigner said...

They will remember all of your best; your heart, your laughter, your love and concern, your time, your presence. They will remember good times that today seem insignificant to you.

I know this because yesterday I received a letter from my 25 year old son. He told me the things he remembers. He melted my heart. I love him so for giving me that gift.

The fact that you care so much makes you the best mother your kids can have. They never outgrow you listening to them breathe while they sleep... Hugs to you, Chris.

12:12 AM  
Blogger Mama26blessings said...

Chris,
How beautifully put! You captured the entire essense of what a Mommy feels. Especially the standing in the doorway hearing them breathe, gosh I do that every night! And how they smell, there is nothing more sweeter then the scent of your children. God Bless!!
www.mama2fiveblessings.blogspot.com

3:15 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

beautiful! I'm sure they will remember the good things. I wish I was a kid in your house.

and you wrote why I go to as many of the practices and games as humanly possible. Despite hating team sports, especially soccer. I now feel very guilty for sending M to the game with my husband today while I clean for a party. :)

rachel
kjsl.com/~imacmom/agog

8:26 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Absolutely beautiful and wonderfully said!

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Lizzie said...

I want you...to adopt...me! Besides, what one more anyway...right!?!

1:32 PM  
Blogger Bernadette said...

Oops...I didn't realize that your hubby coached your boys in my penultimate comment...I'm sure he's great (unlike the new breed of coaches in the NW)!

Your sentiments hit home here. May I assure you that your children will forgive your imperfections? And, I know they will remember your keen sense of humor and your tenderness!

3:53 PM  
Blogger Jules said...

What a beautiful post! It captured exactly how I feel about being a mother.
Thank you for the reminder of how sweet and precious every day with them is.

9:30 PM  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

Just lovely. I hope you give this to each of them one day when they are old enough to understand. They would love it.

It makes me want kids now now now!

11:49 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

Thank you for putting to words the things I feel in my heart.

Awesome post.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Mandy said...

What a moving and poignant post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts time and again.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Sleeping Mommy said...

You said it beautifully. We all experience these hopes and fears as mothers.

It's nice to know that even the most "together" seeming moms fear and long for the same things I do.

11:21 AM  
Blogger lipstickface said...

oh if only i had had love from a mother like you.

Mothers shouldn't be allowed to have children unless they are going to love their children as hard and as truly as you love yours.

What a happier world it would be.

God bless you and all the love that pours through you. May your children multiply it onto their children.

God bless you!

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Angela said...

Linked over here from Bella Dia, and thought this was beautifully written.

Lately, I've been thinking about what will my son remember from his childhood, and my hopes are the same as yours (although I don't know that I could put it into words as well). Thank you.

BTW - my husband coaches little league (6 yr olds), and I KNOW your frustration.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

You're a beautiful writer and fantastic mother.

1:38 PM  
Blogger owensdad said...

wow - you actually gave me a brain cramp - i literally am thoughtless (like speechless without the speech part).

i'll tell you what i remember as a 9 yr old who played baseball. i played for a team called rawlplug (now power fasteners). we were 13-0 and i was 14 for 28 with 13 rbi's (no hr's - 'husky' they called it). i rode my bike to and from every game - 4 miles round trip. and my parents were never in the stands. ever. you were the mom that i looked for to give me a high five and a 'hey, nice catch'. 30 years later it still hurts and when my guy sees me from the stage at his pre-k 'graduation' and gives me a thumbs up and blows me a kiss, i know i'm good enough.

as a parent you can seldom do too much but you always run the risk of not doing enough - i'll take my chances on the former. we must improve from generation to generation. sorry i rambled as well - my blog is at kelly101.blogspot.com

thanks for the space - owens dad

4:56 PM  
Blogger Footloose40 said...

Wow - that's just about all I can say. What a fabulous post. I too check on my girls every night and listen to them breathing. My oldest is a "silent" breather - I actually put my hand on her chest many nights just to make sure . . . My youngest needs her tonsils removed so she breathes so loud the neighbors can probably hear her!

Your love for your children is truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Kerri said...

As a woman who has desperatley wanted children but has never been given the opportunity, I was very moved by this post. I've never wanted anything more than to be a mother. I hope you know how truly blessed you are. I know you do. I can tell from your words.

4:35 AM  
Blogger elian said...

Beautiful... I love your posts.

Have you ever thought of putting this into a book? You might want to check out www.cherishbound.com.

Please keep of the great writing. You make me laugh and cry.

4:10 PM  
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Sleepless? Instead of reaching for sleeping pills, which can quickly become addictive, try this: Drink only caffeine free tea or coffee starting late in the afternoon.. Go to bed earlier rather than later, as being overtired tends to keep people awake. Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet. Use only pure wool or cotton sheets and blankets. Polyester materials can cause sweat and make you thirsty (if your child constantly asks for water throughout the night, this could be the reason).

And don't watch those scary movies just before retiring! If you still can't sleep, make a tea of lemongrass or drink a nightcap of herbal tea containing chamomile. It's easy to grow lemongrass in your garden or start a flower pot on the balcony for ease of picking. Simply steep a handful in boiling water for five minutes. Honey may be added for a sweetener.

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stress and college student

11:11 PM  
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12:23 AM  

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