“When my children remember their childhood, I want only for them to remember that their Mother gave it her all. She worried too much, she failed at times and she did not always get it right, but she tried her hardest to teach them about kindness, love, compassion and honesty. Even if she had to learn it from her own mistakes, she loved them enough to keep going, even when things seemed hopeless, even when life knocked her down. I want them to remember me as the Woman who always got back up.” ~ via Soul-fully Beautiful
I absolutely love this quote. I read it years ago and over the years it’s found it’s way back to me through numerous avenues as if to remind me of what’s important. It definitely reflects who my own mother was to me growing up and the woman I strive to be for my own children.
My mother raised all three of us (my brother, sister and I) to be kind, to be compassionate and to always help other people. She was relentless about teaching us thoughtfulness and always showing our appreciation to anyone who did something for us whether it was giving us a gift, a ride to the baseball field or a compliment.
And like my father, she was passionate and steadfast about honesty. We couldn’t lie to her even if we tried. The woman had a sixth sense that bordered on psychic and I could swear she occupied a third eye that would magically make you blurt out your guilt 30 seconds after you tried to lie to her.
But most of all, she taught us strength. Like everyone else, she was knocked down many times by life …illnesses, financial hardship, the loss of her parents, incessant worry about one of us kids who had either gotten into some kind of trouble or was making some decision about our life she didn’t agree with. And she did not have the easiest of childhoods, I later learned, yet never once complained about any of it.
But no matter what went down throughout her life, she was a fierce, determined woman who would make the most of any situation. Her faith and positive outlook about everything, no matter how crappy the situation, was infectious and I admired that she never allowed anything to knock her down and defeat her.
My kids are only six and two years old. And I have never worked so hard at anything in my life. Out in the adult world, I strive to be everything my own mother taught me to be—hard-working, kind, compassionate, loyal, a good friend and an even better mother. And although I think I’ve done a fairly good job in my adult world, I often sell myself short or doubt how well I’m doing in the mommy-world.
I am fortunate enough to have amazing friends with children of their own to talk to, learn from and seek advice when I am in the self-doubt moments. And if there is anything we all agree on, is that none of us is doing this parenthood thing perfectly.
We lose our patience, we become overly emotional when we’re tired, we sometimes get lazy and plop them in front of the TV to get some much needed sleep in the mornings. But despite this, we love with our whole hearts, and worry incessantly about what they will remember about us when they grow up.
To my amazing, beautiful and spirited children: This is what I hope you’ll remember about your Dear Old Mom once I’m gone.
I hope that you always felt seen, and especially heard.
I hope you were encouraged by me to be exactly who you are, and never felt you had to be fit into some mold or be anything different for me.
I hope you felt safe, love and nurtured and that you knew you always had a place to come home to when life got tough.
I hope you never lost faith in yourself by watching me. For there is nothing in this world that would allow me to give up up on myself, no matter how bad things got.
I hope you knew that no matter how many times you got knocked on your ass and life didn’t go as planned, that the Universe always had something better in store, by watching how my own life went.
I hope you were kind, generous, big-hearted and loyal to people. I wanted so much to model this for you as you grew up.
I hope that you learned to put yourself first at times, so that you could be fully present when others needed you.
I hope that you went after every impossible, unimaginable dream you had, knowing just like your momma, there was nothing you couldn’t achieve with persistence and hard work.
I hope that you appreciated people’s differences and didn’t judge them because they weren’t like you. I tried to teach you that everyone is unique and on their own journey and needs to live their own truth.
I hope you fought for the underdog and stood up for the people who didn’t have a voice in this world.
I hope that you learned to forgive yourself and others by watching the imperfect and often messy way I fumbled through my own life.
I hope that you gave people second chances. Because everyone deserves one.
I hope you traveled and went on exotic and unplanned adventures. That you took the world by storm and saw everything you wanted to see in your lifetime.
I hope you spent some money on yourself and the people you loved when you had anything “extra” to give.
I hope you had thousands of deep belly laughs with friends, wild times to tell your own kids, made tons of mistakes you learned from and never took life so seriously.
I hope you allowed yourself to be vulnerable and to be loved. That you learned to not close your hearts off after every heartbreak, because you are both so deserving of being loved to the ends of the earth.
I hope you die with no regrets. Because by the time I do, I can promise you I had not one.
It’s because of both of you, I did everything I set out to do and became everything I wanted to be in this world.
I wish the same for you.
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: via the author