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On Making Memories

Photograph by Katie Michelle Reyes

Do you ever stop to think what your children will remember most about their childhood? What are the memories that will hold out in years to come?

Will they remember your daily adventures? That you chose to stay home with them? That you chose to be a working mom? That you chose to breastfeed them or bottle feed them? That you always ate dinner together each night? Will they remember that you sat on the floor and played silly games of make believe? Will they remember that you chased them around the yard, laughing out loud and collapsing together in the grass, exhausted?

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Will they remember the dishes piled up in the sink? The laundry baskets overflowing on the bed? The smeared windows and mirrors, from their own sticky little fingers playing peek-a-boo with themselves?

They won't. What they will remember is how much fun you are, how you were always there when they needed you. That they felt safe and loved and happy. These are what memories are made of.

What’s important is our outstretched arms, our attentiveness, our reassuring nods and whisperings of, “It’ll be okay.”

What’s important, as mothers, is that we're present—in the moment—with our children. What’s important is our outstretched arms, our attentiveness, our reassuring nods and whisperings of, “It’ll be okay.” What’s important is that we are there.

The laundry can wait. The dishes can wait. Dammit, those smeared mirrors can stay forever for all I care!

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We're always way too hard on ourselves, to the point of being harmful. We tend to remember the negatives, even though we know that the good far outweighs the bad. Stop with the self-deprecation! Stop with the image of perfection! Because if perfection is your goal, you will always fall short. You will never be enough.

But guess what? You are! You're the best mother to your children. And what you're doing is the most important thing that you can. You're shaping lives. You're kissing boo-boos. You're gentle. You're kind. You're sweet. You're patient (even when you really don’t want to be,)

You're their home. And you're the memory that your children will carry with them forever. So be a good one.

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