Thursday, September 30, 2010


Sometimes I wonder what my kids will remember about the things we do together now.

Lately I've had a lot of flashbacks to when I was a kid. I remember things like my Dad going in to work on Saturdays because the office was quiet and he could concentrate. And he'd take me with him and let me sit in someone else's office to do my homework and pretend to work. Back then calculators with the paper rolls were the rage. (Were there rages about office equipment?) And he made sure I got to sit in an office that had one. I remember the long, long, narrow hallway of office doors and around the corner a single water fountain near the boss's office. I remember the rooms of drafting tables, of blue printed engineering designs - some rolled up in stacks, others spread out to be examined. I wondered what work I would do when I grew up.

I remember my mom teaching me to sew, first with just a needle and thread, making little pillows and change purses and accessories for dress up with scrap fabric from her bins. Later she let me use her sewing machine. She made so many dresses for us.

I remember how my mom drove my sister and I home after a long day spent at a family friend's house. We drove home in a complete white out, one of the worst snow storms I can ever remember. The normal 90 minute drive turned in to several hours. We drove in a tiny Honda Civic and I was terrified. My sister and I sat silently, barely breathing for fear of distracting our mother. But she made it home. She says the only way she did it was because she knew every inch of the back roads we were driving. She knew where every curve was supposed to be, where every dip was. She knew her car, she was present. I am still in awe of how she held it together, how calm she was, how she reassured us we'd be fine. She always kept it together. She made me feel safe.

I remember scaring my father once, hiding behind a wall and jumping out at him when he came through the doorway. I learned then how much my father hated being startled. And I never did it again. Only now, after recently learning about why he has chronic ringing in his ears, do I wonder if the two things are related.

And my mother used to play her records loudly when she cleaned. Our home didn't have central air so we always had the windows opened. Well if I got off the school bus and heard Linda Ronstadt blasting from the windows, I walked very slowly up the driveway to prolong the inevitable "I saved cleaning the ... just for you!"

I remember Dad grilling hamburgers and all of us eating outside on the patio with lemonade and fresh corn on the cob, and my mom taking us shopping for new school clothes every August. I can also still hear her voice calling me in from playing outside as the last of the sun's rays faded from the sky.

I close my eyes and am transported back in time to a wonderful childhood. It is a movie in my mind that I can pause, skip around, and replay often. So many memories are random and I can't help but wonder what little things Hubs and I are doing now that our children will remember years later? Will it be the daily little things or just the big special things?

Will they remember how I lost my cool at the end of the day, after they didn't nap and it was dinner time and their whining crescendoed in the kitchen as I prepared their meal? Or will they remember that I counted to 10 and then as they ate I played rhyming games with them and we made silly faces and laughed? Will they remember playing train tracks or cars or building marble machines or water tube contraptions? Or will it be the constant prodding to "hurry up" and "get moving" in the morning as we balance a non-morning-person mommy with two slow poke children and a clock to beat to get to school on time?

My memories are of warmth and love, and are very special. I want theirs to be too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I live with fear.

I say "with fear" as opposed to "in fear" so as not to convey that I am crippled by it, that is consumes me. But it haunts me at times. It sits there on my shoulder as the fabled Devil in a battle between good and evil. Fear is definitely evil.

Fear is what sits like a weight in my stomach when my karate students tell me about the gangs in their schools or the bullies at their bus stops. It's knowing that my boys still have to grow up and go through school. It's the worry that they will know only the angst of a broken heart from a first love, and not from the anticipation of a punch from looking at the wrong someone the wrong way. Fear is hoping I raise my children well enough that they will run with the right crowd, that they will care about making it home by curfew, that they will think to call home to say hi to their mother.

Fear is the chill of uncertainty down my spine as I say the words "I will always be there for you" when I know that someday I won't. And when I'm gone, by some freak accident, illness or old age, will they all know how much I loved them? Will I have done enough so their memories will carry them through lives with joy and hope, confident in who they are as wonderful, smart, funny, beautiful people? Will they know how happy they made me?

I am so happy.

Fear is the little voice inside that says to lock the car doors, lock the garage door, set the alarm and hawk my children in the parking lots and stores. Fear is a freak accident and no time to say goodbye. Fear is losing everything and everyone I love dearly. Fear is being forgotten.

And I am temporary.

We are all temporary.

So I live with fear.

Because I live with love.