Parenting: What would you like your children to remember most about you?

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Warning: This Post has Upset some People due to it’s nature. The last thing I want is for anyone to feel worse after reading. It is about Life and death and only MY EXPERIENCES.

 

I think about death. I think about me dying suddenly. Gone forever.  This last year I’ve seen and lived through people I love die. Good people that were part of my life, people who played a big role in your lives too. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends gone, old and young. Expected deaths due to old age and illness. Unexpected deaths. Where someone is just taken in an instance. No goodbyes. A visit to Accident and Emergency as they feel poorly. “I’ll be back in a few hours”. They didn’t know they wouldn’t return. In an instant they were gone. All that there is left are memories. Their eulogies full of moments where they have made a difference and reached out to someone, nothing amazing just their kindness, their laughter and their acceptance of others. I know many of my friends and parents I work with have experienced sudden deaths, suicides, accidents and deaths from sickness and we hold on to the memories and replay them over and over. Nothing can make up for their absence and nothing can take away the grief. The grief stays forever, you live your day your head filled endless mourning because you will never see them again.

What memories am I leaving behind should I die suddenly?

I want to leave real memories, including the ones where I lost it after stepping on the Lego ninjago sword, the day little man let a family of cockroaches move into the lounge room and the moment the kids thought it would be a great idea to have a water gun fight inside. I’m aware of keeping it real and also saying sorry “I lost it”. Life will have bad moments, tough days and shocking weeks. When you think that things could not possibly get any worse, they do. My children have seen me cry uncontrollably, they have heard me swear in the heat of the moment, they’ve seen me spontaneously whip up a flamenco outfit, shove flowers in my hair, haul myself up on a table and dance to Spanish music to make their grandma smile. I have jumped into a pool fully dressed on numerous occasions, they have eaten tasted ok they smelt and licked my attempt at banana fritters, they have and will continue to see me at my worst and my lows, because this is life and this is who their mother is.

 

Memories good and bad replay over and over

Our memories like to replay the bad over and over. It is so very difficult to move on and not be consumed by guilt and shame. Traumatisation as a child from mental and physical abuse does stay with you until you die. Some cope, many do not. We all carry something from our past, last week, yesterday or today that we wish had been different. We can’t go back and change that moment.

I want my children to remember everything about me. All my imperfections, my flaws, my messiness, my laughing, my crying and me getting back up again and having another go.

Friday night, movies on the couch and massages on their hands and I’m not a foot person but I’ll massage their feet. I know this creates a memory. I can close my eyes and feel my mother’s hand rubbing my back, the safety, and the love. An everlasting memory.

Alzheimer’s petrifies me. It runs in families. Through mum I learnt she didn’t have a bloody clue who I was yet when I danced and sang (I use the verb to sing very loosely here) to her, something sparked inside her, a trigger a memory of who she had been.

I write a journal of thank you’s and moments both good and bad. If my memory should go I hope that my journals will trigger off some kind of memory of who I was.

If I don’t see another day, my children will hopefully remember the good and the real. They may be parents one day, they know how much I love them and they also know that there are bad days where nothing seems to go to plan and that’s ok because that is life.

Seeing people I love pass away, has left me feeling so distraught, so empty, with an attitude that says accept the crappy to an extent and move on. I stop and reflect how much of their good values are relived by those they loved in their daily actions towards others.  They continue living their goodness, they may stop and think what would they have done.? It doesn’t take away the pain, anger, or hurt. It doesn’t bring them back, but it keeps some part of who they were in the now.

 

 What I want my children to remember

There will be days I will be a tad foul, I may lose it, I am human. My children will remember these days and they will also hear mum’s loud laugh, the nerf gun battles (I admit I have the biggest and best nerf gun). They will remember my inconsolable tears and angriness as my mum’s Alzheimer’s ravished through her and took chunks of me with it. Followed by realisation that this was not going to get any better, so I got my head out of my bum and took each day as best I could and would find ways to make mum laugh. Whoopee cushions were sat on by everyone, as mum would giggle so much.

I hardly blog and I love to blog. Work is full time and on call pretty much everyday. Being mum is full time too and something had to give and for me it was the blog, sporadic blogger that’s me. I want to create the memories in real life when I can.  I love my work it is consuming and emotional and a huge part of who I am. I want my children to remember mum kept it real, she loved us, she stuffed up, she tried some days were awesome, some were average, some were best forgotten and she made simple memories, she smiled, she kissed, she hugged and she ambushed us in our sleep with her pump action water gun.

If I’m nearing the end of the day where nothing has gone smoothly and I may have been a grumpy and tired mum I force myself to connect with the kids a simple moment of making the hug last a little longer, an extra chapter of their story book,  a tickle, and always an “I love you more” just incase I don’t wake up.

 

I want my children to remember that-6

 

 

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Nathalie Brown

Child Behaviour Consultant at Easy Peasy Kids
Child Behaviourist and researcher. Creator of "Less tantrums. More smiles". I look at the bigger picture and think outside the box when working with children and their behaviour. Their world is different. As adults we sometimes forget this. Happiness Creator in my spare time. Eater of chocolate and cake.

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Comments

  1. Oh Nat! This resonates with me soooo much! I am a sufferer of depression and anxiety. It’s hard to admit, but there are some days I just don’t want to come home. That life is too much responsibility for me as a single Mum 3 kids. Or there are days that I obsess about the “what ifs” of not being there, of dying. This has been a good reminder of what I need to chose to do. Create memories for when I’m gone. I’m the best Mum I can be, and that tomorrow is a new day to start again when I stuff up.
    Thank you for your blog post. Well wishes and hugs to you xo

    • Lavina there are many days I sat in the car crying, especially when I cared for mum. It is a huge responsibility bringing up children and depression and anxiety make it all so much harder. We stuff heaps, take care of you when you can, thank you for reading xxxx

  2. Debbie says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Would you mind if I shared this on my FB page.

  3. Debbie says:

    The poem I mean.
    Thanks

  4. I think of this often… what will me kids think of me when they become parents, and then what will they remember about me after I am gone.

    Lately I have been trying to be in more photos. I HATE having my photo taken but I don’t want them to remember that about me, I want them to be able to look back at photos and remember moments when I wasn’t cringing or hiding… I want them to see the every day moments with me in them…

  5. Different things in my recent life over the last couple of years have caused me to think about death quite often. Not in a morbid way but just in the realisation that life can change very quickly. This is beautiful Nat, and thanks for taking the time to get it all down here like this. I guess what I would like my kids to remember is just HOW much I love them. I lost my mum when I was 26, and although I remember many things about her, what I miss the most is that mother-love present in my life. x

  6. nae peters says:

    Nat I love your honesty :)
    this is a great post, made me think….
    I often worry about the bad moment, hard times & rough weeks where things just dont seem to work for me & I lose my s**t but that is being real. that happens.
    I would love my kids to remember me as fun, hands-on & involved. Sometimes silly/crazy but most of all a loving Mum who gave them my heart
    x

  7. Nathalie, you’ve always taught me to slow down and remember those moments. I think I pay more attention to those moments because of your posts. I can only hope that my children have their moments with me and will remember should anything terrible happen. Something I think I need to do is be on the other end of the camera. I have recorded how much I adore them in images but it might be time to let them record some of me… just in case.

  8. I love this post Nat. I do wonder what my kids will remember of me, already they’ve come out with some classics that I never realised would stay in their heads at such a young age. The poem is lovely.

  9. I really enjoyed reading this post Natalie and I nodded and felt tears slipping down my cheeks as I read. Even just reading about other mothers that I respect that have days when they’ve been grumpy and yelled and just not handled everything right. Knowing that my children will too hopefully remember the real but also the apologies, admitting when I’ve not handled things well and making it up with super hugs, a million kisses and random moments of, “Hey, you’re Awesome! I’m so lucky to be your Mum.” This helps to easy some of my mummy-guilt that I am sure so many of us carry round. Thanks for keeping it real, Nat. xo

  10. Yep, Nat, your post has me in tears. I think I’ll be crying for a long time yet.
    But, it was also the most beautiful blog post I have read in a very, very, very long time.
    It was a post that I needed to read for many reasons.

    1) I focus too much on what I want for my children, but I’ve never stopped to think about how they will remember me…..and gosh, I want them to have beautiful memories of me.

    2) For me, this post wasn’t just about my kids. It was about every special person in my life. Do I let them know how I feel? I need to.

    3) I started crying when you mentioned your family who thought they’d come back from emergency. I remember when we took Baby Ike to emergency. I was so worried about him, that I just gave Cam a quick goodbye. I didn’t explain where we were going, what we were doing or how long we’d be. I thought we’d be back that night with some medicine for Ike. We were in there for two weeks, and all I could think about was how confused and abandoned Cammy must be feeling. I’m sorry you experienced this too.

    3) Thank you for the reminder that we can’t go back and change things that have happened in the past. I get hung up on this sometimes. I wish and pray that I could go back and change things instead of moving forward.

    4) Finally, you are an inspiration to me and so many mothers out there. You are real, thoughtful and motivating. Your kids are lucky to have you.

    • Beautiful Jackie, sorry you cried, I had tears reading your comment. I think it is important to let someone special know how you feel because that is something you can do now. I hope baby is all well now, keep looking forward and thank you for your kind words. xxxxx

  11. What a wise question to ponder over. I think there is much wisdom in reverse engineering :). I know I stuff up, and those moments will be remembered. I know there will be good times and that those will be remembered too. That’s the thing I have noticed about my kids. They see me as me, What gets me through all my failures (and successes) as a mum, is my faith in a God who is much more loving, capable and gracious than I. I hope my kids remember that most of all. Xo P

  12. Very interesting post thanks Nathalie. Lots for me to think about. :)

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  2. […] What will they remember about their mother? Nathalie Brown wrote one of the most moving posts about parenting and memories, a post that not only resonates with me but it rings so true to what Michael writes about […]

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