What I Hope They Remember

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In my dozen years of parenting, I have found one clichéd statement to ring true.

The days are long, but the years are short.

I looked at my oldest son the other day and realized exactly how true this statement is. The chub is long gone from his cheeks. His once-tiny hands are now nearly as big as mine. The little foot that used to stomp around in my boots can no longer squeeze into those same shoes. Those long days slid into short years, and my baby grew up.

And I don’t remember most of it.

Of course I remember first steps and birthdays. But those other days? The ones that seemed to go on forever as I rocked a fussy infant or calmed a tantruming toddler? Those days have faded into my past, meshing into one another. No longer “Tuesday” but “when he was 6-and-a-half….ish. Or maybe 7…”

I know my kids aren’t going to remember everything about their childhood. I often wonder, though, what are they going to remember about me? What will they tell their own kids about their mom?

Here are a few things I hope they remember:

Our little adventures

We are a large family with a small income. No tropical vacations dazzle in our future. I try to make up for this by putting a huge effort into taking my kids on little adventures. I often spend my spare time scouring Groupon for deals on fun activities, or reserving museum passes from the many local libraries I am a member of. We spend our school vacations and summers finding new playgrounds and hiking trails. Our “big vacation” each year is a long weekend away in New Hampshire with friends, where we use passes to parks that I have purchased months before using a Black Friday deal. Our adventures don’t usually take us far from home, but they are a ton of fun!

How much I cherish my friends

That friend we go to NH with? We met in third grade. I hope that while we are on our vacation together, after all of our children snuggle into their beds at night, they hear us adults laughing around a board game and enjoying a friendship we have cultivated for decades. I hope my kids realize this long-lasting friendship is one of many friendships their dad and I have kept for years.

And while they think about friends, I hope they remember the family-style relationship we have with our neighbors. Doors always open, no knocking required, a box of freeze pops on hand for any kid in the neighborhood all summer long.

How I always found the humor in life

When my kids are adults and look back to their childhood, I hope they remember my silly dances, conga lines through the house, and kick-butt renditions of Toto’s “Africa.” (But I hope when they remember that last part, they remember me with a kick-butt singing voice — not the one I actually have!)

How much I celebrated them

I am always a little bit concerned that my kids will feel lost in the shuffle because they have so many siblings. For this reason, we celebrate. We celebrate big, and we celebrate loud. We have big birthday parties for each of our kids, surrounded by friends and family. I routinely post about their accomplishments on my social media accounts. And that old adage that you have a ton of pictures of the first kid, but less of the others? That one certainly doesn’t apply here. My kids refer to me as the “mama-razzi.”  

How involved I tried to be

With five kids, I know that time constraints will cause me not to be at every activity they participate in. But this doesn’t stop me from trying my hardest! I want them to remember how very hard I tried to simply be there. Yes, it means that nearly every one of my days is spent participating in a PTO event, sitting at a baseball field, or listening to tentative guitar strums. But I genuinely love seeing my kids do things they enjoy, and I want them to know I will make sure to be there for each of them, every chance I get. These years are short, and I intend to fully enjoy them.

When my kids are grown, I hope they remember these long days and short years with fondness. And if they remember nothing else, I hope they can look back on their childhoods and say:

I remember how much my mom loved me. And I remember how hard she tried.

 

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Deanna Greenstein
Deanna is a mom of five (yes, five) children, who lives in Brockton with her small circus of kids, her husband, their dog Penny, and a few cats. Her life is loud, energetic, mostly fun, often gross (did she mention four of those kids are boys?), and she wouldn't have it any other way. In between carting kids to school, baseball, gymnastics, guitar, dance, track and field and every other kid activity known to mankind, she works as a school bus driver for the city of Brockton, and is the Director of Religious Education at the Unity Church of North Easton, a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Deanna also holds degrees in Elementary Physical Education and Dance Education, which she plans to put back into use one day. At parties, Deanna can often be found hanging out with family pets. She follows her children around with a camera like the paparazzi, is pretty sure that 97% of her blood stream is made of coffee, and her laundry is never done. You can also find her blogging at https://eighteenmoreyearsofburpsandfarts.wordpress.com