I wrote a post yesterday remembering my grandmother, who was a wonderfully elegant woman and who passed on many lessons regarding the “domestic arts” to her children and grandchildren. We are lucky to have had her as a teacher. (I know, “domestic arts” is an awfully outdated expression, but I just can’t think of a way to lump the cut glass pickle dish, the importance of table linens, and silent butler use in one category. Domestic arts it is.)
My recollection got me thinking about what my children will say about me after I’m gone. I should pause here for a moment and say that my mother and I play this game with some regularity — usually when she has done or said something mildly outrageous that isn’t so “grandmotherly:” “Oh, that’s great Mom. It’ll be the nice for the children to remember the time that Grandma told them that math didn’t matter” (not that she’s ever said that — I just can’t remember a specific instance right now that won’t get one of us (probably me) in trouble).
Back to my point. What will the children say? Will they recall the all the times I lost it because socks were left in the family room after I specifically said about 4,000 times to put your nasty dirty socks in the hamper? Will they recall all the times that I knowingly and willingly broke traffic laws because I didn’t feel like following them?
Will they nudge each other and say, “Remember the time in that 4D movie when the shark snatched the seal out of the water and our chairs shook and the whole thing surprised Mom and she said, “JESUS!” really loud in the quiet theatre?” (Yes, I did. But I was startled beyond belief. What do you say when you’ve been surprised by a Great White? That wasn’t my fault.)
Will they carry on, reminiscing about the time I announced, in front of them in a (rare) parenting judgment lapse, that my favorite word was “Asshat”? And how delighted they were that I “swore” in front of them and then, for the next several weeks, would interrupt conversations I was having with other adults to say, “Hey Mom, tell ____ about what your favorite word is,” and I’d either have to explain or cut off their air supplies (my kids, not the other grownups)?
The truth is, they’re going to recall all of it. The trick will be to have them recall the quirky and the fun in equal measure with the not-so-fun and grumpy. Like the evenings when we had breakfast for dinner or picnics in the family room.
Like the time I allowed them to make up a holiday and then decorated for it. (Children’s Day. January 16. They didn’t understand why I told them every day was Children’s Day and why’d we need a holiday for it, but I decorated placemats anyway, and we took photos.)
Like the time they found me wrapped in a towel in the kitchen one night after dinner, soaking wet, with my clothes in a pile and when they asked why, I casually told them I had gone skinny dipping. Oh, the horror! (Particularly when Dad told them he was sorry he had missed it…“Ewwww, Daaaaad!”) And I was pleased with their horror and promised to do it again real soon.
Or when I tell them “Dinner tonight is poison, with a side of poison,” or that when they tell me I smell good they cut me off and say, “I know, Mom, I know. ‘It’s the smell of clean,’ I know. I’ll take a shower later.”
They’ll remember it all. That’s good, I suppose. And it certainly frees me up to skinny dip and use “asshat” when the spirit moves me. After all, some memories are indelible.
It’s Word Up, Yo! time again…..Join the fun!