This week has been one of accidental reflection. We cleared out our attic storage space to put down extra insulation and a sub-floor Fortunately, we don’t have a lot of extra stuff in our lives. As a military family and several moves, we’ve learned to not keep a lot, so the task wasn’t daunting. What I do have are the most precious mementos in the world to me.
We moved all the totes into our bedroom as we made space to work. There before me where the four totes I have carried with me ever since our kids were little. Each child’s tote contains childhood artwork, pictures and sweet mementos. And then there was another tote simply labeled “mom’s stuff”.
As I walked back and forth from the storage area to bedroom moving the totes to clear the space, the tote “mom’s stuff” kept speaking to me, drawing me in to travel down memory lane. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get into that because I would likely be there for hours connecting with my memories.
And then what happened? I was there for hours connecting with my memories. I opened the tote labeled “mom’s stuff”. Dad and Mom were so good to keep things like our childhood art work, gifts, my hand print pressed into plaster, two dolls that mom gave me, one on my 7th birthday that I cherish and then a ballerina doll from 1973. My mother absolutely loved dolls. Lots of notes and cards signed, “Love Always, Mom”. I felt the presence of my mother, I embraced her and joyfully celebrated the memories we shared.
Then I came to all the cards the children have given me. I have them sorted by holiday. I took the pile labeled Mother’s Day and started to read them all. With every card I could hear their little voices in my head as I read their words and smiled at their artwork and pictures. Touching each card carefully as if it was their little sweet faces at that early age.
One year the kids gave me a mother’s ring. It came in a little gray ring box. I opened the box slowly in hopes that the message of 22 years ago still played, and it did! “Happy Mother’s Day!”
I was a young mom. Did I do everything right? Of course not. What 20-year-old has enough experience in life to be ‘the perfect mom’? There is no such thing. I am sure I could have done a lot of things differently. I could have had more patience. (Steven and Holly would totally agree with that.) What I do know is that at 20 years old, I was a strong mom and the love for my children was intense. It was back then, and it still is today. There is a quote that I found once, I don’t know who the author is, but I totally identify with this:
“I may not be perfect but when I look at my children I know that I got something in my life perfectly right.”
Raising four children has been the greatest accomplishment of my life. The most rewarding is watching my daughters Melissa and Holly raise their own children with the same intense love I raised them with. And for Laura and Steven someday, when they have children of their own, I know they will be amazing parents. Raising children is a journey. No one will ever ‘be ready’ when children come but I know without an ounce of doubt that my children will cherish the same quote.
What does this have to do with travel this week? It is about the journey down memory lane and a celebration of our own life story. Happy Mother’s Day out there to all Moms, present, future and past. I hope you take time this weekend to reflect, celebrate and enjoy the journey of making memories with those you love.