Real life from the crack of dawn....
Friday, August 19, 2016
Memoir Prompt: I Don't Remember
My Dad called me on the phone last night.
Long story short, he had read the blog entry from the other day, and he was touched by it. Perhaps more than that, though, he said in a cracking voice that he didn't remember that moment.
He went on to share that I remember him as perhaps a better father than he was, that when he reflects back on how he parented, he does not remember moments such as these but the things he did that he is less proud of.
I've thought a lot about that, both last night and also since I have become a parent. I've wondered what will rise to the surface, what my children will remember and retain of their childhoods. I've written, somewhat jokingly, about how my children seem to believe they were spanked within an inch of their lives on a fairly large number of occasions, which is QUITE far from the truth, but apparently the few made a large impression.
Lord knows the endless meals, laundry, shutting to and fro make next to no impression at all!
I think two things ultimately rise and stay in memory, at least from my childhood and, I expect, from my childrens' childhoods as they look back on them- the element of surprise/special/the unexpected, and the overall intention.
I have a lot to draw from in the first category, my favorite memory of all being my Mom pulling me out of high school one day COMPLETELY unexpectedly, right in the middle of the day, to take me to the airport, fly me to Dallas, and take me to the Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA concert. THAT was an amazing surprise and more than that, it was a remarkable thing to do. No doubt she could have cared less about Springsteen and I can guarantee I was a CRAPPY teenager to my Mom.. I would not have wanted to spend time with me and my attitude toward her for sure.. but I will never forget the surprise, the effort she put forth to bridge a gap; even in my self centered teens I had great appreciation for that. And small things too, like cupcakes baked in ice cream cone shells for my birthday, that I could take to school and feel special.
Regarding intention, here's the thing, Moms and Dads:
We all mess up. There are times when we mess up ROYALLY, sometimes we know it as we do it or immediately afterward, and sometimes those mistakes become apparent in hindsight. Some are EPIC and when we see them, they fill us with shame- that we couldn't see our child was hurting until too far down the line, that we reacted in a way that caused them pain that was not temporary but more permanent... that we failed them. Isn't that a parent's greatest fear? That we fail to do what we can to make them strong, healthy and whole individuals? Isn't that our JOB?
This is where I believe intention comes into play.
Of course I remember things my parents did that they shouldn't have. Absolutely they made mistakes, just as I have and Rob have too. Some I already know, some will be revealed to me in time either through my own eyes or through what my children will reflect back to me.
But what I do know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that I was loved. My brother was loved. Fiercely, by both parents, in the imperfect way that we love each other. The overall intention was to make us better people, and through successes and misfires, I think they did.. and I believe they did it all in love and in the best way they knew how to do at the time. Just as Rob and I are doing and have done.
So Dad, don't worry about what we remember and what we don't, or what you remember or what you don't. Over time the details fade away, and some good stuff rises to the surface (and some bad stuff too) but the overall intention remains.
I was loved. I am loved. Deeply and fully and well.
That's all that matters.
Join in the Memoir Prompt series if you would like!
Link is here: http://anndeeellis.com/2016/08/19/day-2/