Yes, I realize that my picture says 10 but the more I thought about it, the more things came to my mind. So let’s just say 10 + things because at this point I may keep adding to this list.
At the beginning of the year our family has a family meeting of sorts, where we discuss the things we would like to accomplish for the year and we share some of our favorite memories of the past year.
I’m always amazed to hear what my kids have to say were their favorite memories. It’s usually not the amazing trips we’ve enjoyed (and we’ve had some really cool trips: Swimming with dolphins, Legoland, discovering ancient ruins…) or the cool toys they just got for Christmas. It always has to do with two things: time and love. Our time with them and the moments they felt most loved.
The other day we had some friends over for dinner and one of our dinner questions asked, “What’s your favorite thing to do?” The kids all went around and shared including our guest. My boys said things like, “Playing games with my dad. Spending time with my family. Reading with mommy.” I was in the kitchen getting the rest of the dinner on the table having a personal grateful and proud moment as a mom. Yet, hoping that as they got older they would still enjoy hanging out with us.
This was a sweet reminder to me that it’s not about me being supermom or having the house perfectly spotless, or working non-stop so that they can have everything I didn’t have. It’s about the pillow fights, the tickle attacks, the stopping in the midst of my busy schedule to listen to the story about the worm they found on their adventure or the ship they’re going to build and need my help with. It’s all about finding balance between doing and savoring and learning to focus on the latter. Oh, how I need to learn this balance.
So, this got me thinking about how I want to be remembered. Little things like, only their dad can take me into his arms and make me giggle like a little girl. Or when he twirls me around on the dance floor (aka our living room floor) I have a huge smile on my face. Or that when I praised God, it brings me to tears not because I’m sad but because I truly feel His presence in worship.
I don’t want them to have memories of a mom who was always too busy in front of a computer or on the phone. A mom who always said no or was grumpy. A mom who didn’t let them climb trees or jump off things because she was too afraid or nervous. A mom who always but their dad down or made fun of him when he wasn’t around.
I want them to remember…
15 Things I Want My Kids to Remember About Me
1. I lived everyday of my life. I was not just tossed to and fro, in the midst of the busyness. That I did more than just survive in this world but I made time for dreaming and paused to thrive and enjoy those around me. She loved to create with her hands, paint brushes, colors, fabric, paper, her body, food…
2. I made them feel special. When they cried, I held them. The birthday balloons that covered the entrance to the front door, it was about them. The cookies I baked when they were having a bad day, it was about you. That I encouraged them with words of truth and love: You are seen. You are handsome. You are smart. You are my child. You are loved. You are God’s child.
3. Their childhood wasn’t perfect but I love them dearly. That I truly believe “Love conquers all” but though it hurt me, I’d rather show them tough love now and as they struggle with little things then later when the consequences of life are much harder. Sometimes my love wasn’t filled with hugs and kisses but it looked like–clean laundry, a roof over their head, a prayer, a challenge, a consequence, a talk, a hot meal, a sleepless night for me as I prayed fervently over them…
4. I love and respect their dad. “Love is not love, Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no; it is an ever-fixed mark…” Shakespeare had it right! I hope that one day they’ll appreciate the strength and perseverance he has gone through to honor God as a father, husband and child.
5. I believe in them. I challenged them to reach their potential because I believe they could.
6. I didn’t let fear keep me from doing great things for God. You were created for a purpose, don’t let your fear keep you from fully living in it. All I can do is try my best and He will do the rest. It’s okay to be afraid, embrace it and then slay it so you can use it as a stepping stone to help you move forward.
7. Mom is silly. You’re never too old to be silly and silly she was. She knew how to laugh at her self.
8. Serving others is not about what others think about her but it was about being Jesus to someone. Serving others is one of the ways we get to be His hands and feet. Kindness comes from an overflow of thankfulness–be grateful.
9. Mom fully trusted and believed in God. She believed with her whole heart that He listens to her, guides her, loves her and came to save her. The walls in our home were covered with His truth as reminders when she strayed from it.
10. Mom made sure our home was a safe haven for us.
11. Mom loved to celebrate others. Celebrating others is important. Don’t let busyness, jealousy, anger, fear… keep you from celebrating others and yourself.
12. Mom was not always successful in all of her endeavors but she didn’t keep that from pursuing her dreams. When you fall, you get back up. Courage meets us when we fall and gives us the strength to get back up.
13. Mom always tried to respect herself and others. Respect others no matter what color, language, sex, religion they are. Others will not respect you if you don’t respect and believe in yourself. And when in doubt, act like you do until you believe it. Mom said, please and thank you to us.
14. Focus on the truth. Mom always figured out ways to focus on the truth in the midst of the nebulous. You’re always responsible for how you act no matter how you feel. One of her favorite verses–Truth will set you free.
15. Mom surrounded herself with community. She created community wherever she went. Because she believed that we need each other. We need friends, community, fellowship, framily and family.
These are the things I want to focus on and intentionally pursue.
What are some of yours?