Your job is the most important job in the world. On the days that you feel you’ve failed and you find yourself apologizing to your children yet again, you are still the heroine of your home. You can fine tune your attitiude and remind yourself that the rewards of this sometimes very difficult job may not be entirely seen for years to come. The little things in life are what matter most. The memories they have of times spent with you are what they will treasure.
Last summer my kids and I went back to visit a town they remember so well from their childhood. We took this nostalgic trip before our oldest son left for school in far away California. We visited very ordinary places that they remembered going to like the library, the grocery store and an antique store on main street. I cried almost the entire time. When we went into library and walked back to the children’s section, I could suddenly see my 18 year old and 16 year old as they were at age 8 and age 6. I could see Tyler kneeling down and looking for Curious George books. I remembered Evan looking through the Arthur books. Then it seemed I could see them again sitting in the front seat of the car with me as they shared the candy they had gotten at the grocery store. I recalled their heads bent down together as I stopped at an intersection and how the light streamed through the window of the car. It’s funny the snapshots your mind takes of ordinary days. How time has flown since that day, although it didn’t seem then that time was traveling so quickly.
When the day came for our son to leave so far from home, my heart was heavy even though I knew that this was the right decision. It would be the first time that I wouldn’t be there to help him if he were sick or felt alone. I remembered a line from one of my favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird, where Scout said about her brother Jem, “Thus began our longest journey together.” His was a journey of being far away and mine was a journey of letting go.
At that time, it wasn’t the things he had received for Christmas over the years that meant the most, but the family memories that he treasured. Those are the things that will matter when we have to say our goodbyes and watch them make their own way into the world. And they will remember you Mom, and all that you gave of yourself.