I always knew my mom was something special, but I think I thought it had something to do with her being so beautiful. She sure was, and still is to this day, SO beautiful. Even in the midst of working a lot, seeming distracted at times by her own worries and thoughts, her beauty would radiate through, with that sweet, comforting voice and kind way of being.
For anyone that truly knows me, you know that my memory is not good. I don’t mean, like right now, while in the midst of menopause, I mean…always. I retell stories from the depths of my black hole, which is appropriately named since there are holes all over each and every one of them. I can’t give directions, can’t get anywhere without GPS and have no idea what I was wearing yesterday. I have learned that the power of the written word has saved my life literally in a million ways. I realized early on that if I wrote everything down I wouldn’t have to struggle to remember and that if I wrote about my life, the good and the bad, I could choose to recall whatever I really wanted.
I don’t think my lack of memory is a technical issue, but perhaps a hard-wiring one. I actually believe that I choose my memory, or there lack of, by consciously sifting through the information that comes to me in the appropriate places of my mind. I am not positive if research will support my beliefs, nor my Cornell-going son, but I am telling you the truth that as I hear new information, I can hear my inner voice ask, “is this something important? How important? Is it something I may need to recall later today or not ever again?”
If I don’t know how important the information is, I don’t store it at all as my little voice murmurs, set that one free. If it seems to have value, but I am not sure how much, I can almost hear the memory files flip forward so I can toss it way in the back. I organize my memories like my life…important things up front!
The memories of my childhood that seemed to stay up front, though, weigh heavy on my mind, especially as a parent myself. If I soul search, without opening one of the hundreds of diaries I journaled in, I remember there being many times that my mom was late picking me up from after school events. No cell phones and an on the road sales job meant pick up was not perfect. I remember wishing that sometimes she was home right after school when I was home, but mostly because I recall being so hungry for dinner and not sure how or what to cook. But even those memories are blended with the comfort of coming home to an empty house with time to be alone, regroup, watch the TV shows I wanted and the knowledge that I was trusted to be on my own.
That is where my memory of what was missing, ends as far as my relationship with my mom. She didn’t have stuff you could hold against her. Stuff you could store for later when she was yelling at you. It wasn’t like that. She was busy for sure, and I wished I could spend more time with her, but other than that, what stood out for me was how kind hearted she was. Simply kind. Authentically kind. Willing to listen to my silly dramatic love stories without fail, sitting on the corner of my bed as I cried, never trying to fix my love or upsets, just empathizing. I don’t even recall any of the reassuring words she shared as my love stories would unfold, but just remember how loved and important I felt in her presence.
It is not easy to live a life that is authentically kind, especially while living a stressful life yourself, but she managed and that remains in the forefront of my memory.
We are not perfect. We all leak, she would say to me as I nod in agreement. But the truth was that while I knew how often I leaked, I often wondered when she leaked and how it was that I never saw it?
Oh…to live a kind-hearted life…truly a life worth living.