Here in New England we’ve had a lot of time to spend inside the house with kids. We’ve had time to play endless rounds of Simon Says, crafts, board games, movies, How-To-Catch-A-Little-Brother-By-His-Tail (guess who made that one up?) and essentially go stir bat shit crazy. This is a picture of our driveway last weekend:
I remember it. When it was just you and us and a rainy day in Upstate NY without an iPad or a DVR remote in sight, I remember it.
The book you hand-made with a stapler, construction paper, and markers. (It was about a turtle. You drew him on every page and I was blown away with how real it looked.) I remember the rhubarb pies; watching you pick the stalk in our backyard with garden gloves then coming back in to let us measure the sugar. I remember the birthday party when all of the moms left and you had laid out games for us like ring-around-the-rosy and pin the tail on the donkey. You played them all, too. I remember the green rainy-day crafts book you’d pull out, instructing us to each pick an activty. I remember making you crawl through an old refrigerator box that I had fashioned into a “haunted house.” I told you to scream to scare my sisters and you did it with gusto. I remember licking the bowl. I remember hiking the trail. I remember playing in your laundry piles. I remember the braids in my hair.
And now I know all of this wasn’t easy. And now I know maybe all of it wasn’t as much fun for you as it was for us. And I also know you got to reap the benefits that come with being present. You got to enjoy the little moments that aren’t captured anywhere at the time but your own full heart.
When I was packing up for college you handed me my favorite funky hat from the front hall closet. You cried when I took it. I rolled my eyes then, gave you a quick hug and told you I’d be fine. But now I know that a Mother’s heart is made out of memories; and having kids leave the house where those were made is probably more painful than I can imagine.
I remember, Mom. Thank you for putting in the time. It mattered to me, it molded me.
Your middle daughter