As I’ve mentioned here before, my mother has both Parkinson’s and dementia. Her diseases have progressed rapidly. The woman who was my best friend for the majority of my life is no longer there … I’m caring for someone who only resembles her physically.
I was going to write this in a letter to my kids who now have wee ones of their own, but the spirits said I should share this publicly (and I always listen to the spirits :cough:), so here goes:
Parents, I know you want to create memories for you. Kids grow up so quickly that photos (and now videos, I guess) are the only thing to remind you how small they really were. So, you take a photo of their first tooth, their first step, etc. I’m here to tell you that your children want memories, too. It doesn’t take anything other than time.
Although I’m old(er) and a lot of past things have faded, I still carry a memory of walking in a park on a Fall day and my very non-witchy mother telling toddler me all the fallen leaves crunching under my feet were talking, just as my Rice Krispies did every morning; then she told me to listen very carefully to hear what they were saying with each step. I’m not sure, but this may have been where I got the idea to listen to plants.
There’s the memory of my first ice skating experience: I was about five, the skates had two blades on them and strapped over my winter boots. (There’s a really embarrassing photo of that day around somewhere.) She told me to just stand there a minute to get used to the slippery ice. While I stood teetering, Mom, who participated in the Silver Skates program as a kid, went swishing once around the rink, bent over with one hand behind her back as any good speed skater will, and came to a hockey stop in front of me. (This was all wearing figure skates, not speed skates.) She told me one day I’d be able to do that, too; then gently took both of my hands in hers and, skating backward, encouraged me to walk, then glide. Thanks to her guidance, I graduated to single blades that same Winter. I still love to ice skate, although I don’t get a chance to do so often.
Mom taught me to dance … Waltz, Polka, Jitterbug and The Twist. I can even tell you which living room it was in. (I grew up in multiple apartments.) Dance remains a passion of mine.
Fast forward many, many years. I can still hear her voice soothing me on the phone, saying my current husband was “Mr. Right” as I blubbered that circumstances weren’t right for us to get together. She was right (as Moms usually are) and stood witness for me when I married the best thing that ever happened to me.
There are others, of course. Now, as I see the person who looks like my mother but isn’t her, I cling to those memories. So parents, create memories not just for yourself but for your children, too. Even if you’re not the magical sort, teach them the wonder of crunchy Fall leaves, or of the caterpillar that becomes a butterfly. Teach them to dance … even if it’s just wiggling around and not a “real” dance step. Teach them to throw a fast ball or kick a field goal. Give them your time.
You never know how things will play out in the future. I guarantee your children will cherish those memories. I certainly do.