Then I had a daughter of my own. And I have done with my daughter what most every parent does. I got her involved in lots of activities. As a result, I drove her to piano lessons, softball, summer day camps. You name it!
It was on a particularly hot day when I was trying to get a hundred things done (laundry, cleaning, making cookies for her class party, let alone a huge list of things for my job) and I had to stop everything and take her to soccer or softball or whatever class of the month she was in. I was on a roll getting through my “to do” list and honestly, taking her to practice was the last thing I wanted to do. This is when I had my Aha! moment.
I took years of piano lessons. I was in softball, school events and Campfire Girls. Who took me to all my activities? There’s a blank spot in my memory bank. It’s like a weird dream where you look to the person driving the car and they have no face. But somehow I know it was my mom. She must have been the one getting home from a hard day at work and driving me to piano lessons. Every week.
I feel bad for not remembering all my mom did for me. And I worry this makes me a bad daughter. Or is this just the way things are? A friend of mine once told me that in most families a mother’s love is expected and a father’s love is earned. As a result, mothers begin to seem more like a commodity. Commodities are useful and valuable, but more of an every-day kind of thing. Easily taken for granted.
I think as a result I’ve tried to be a little more memorable for my daughter. I take lots of pictures. I’ve written a journal of special memories. I’ve saved receipts from some of our wonderful trips together. I’ve even saved some movie ticket stubs. All because I want her to remember the things we’ve done together: plays, trips, and amusement parks.
And that reminds me. One day my mom took her daughters to a near-by amusement park, Worlds of Fun. (Have any of you been there?) It is hard for me to imagine my mom riding a roller coaster. But there’s the picture to prove it. And this picture is a stamp. The brand of a memory of a very fun day in our complicated little family life. It reminds me how no one member of any family is perfect. We’re all human, but we need to remember to take time to put aside past hurts, forgive what needs to be forgiven, and have some fun in the present moment.
I’m grateful for my mom. I’m grateful for the traits she’s passed on to me. I sort of wished she wouldn’t have given me the tendency toward fleshy upper arms, but I guess I’ll have to forgive her for that one. She set me on a course for a wonderful life. I only hope to give my daughter the same.