Baby wafers, big blanket, toys, diapers, sippy, shoes.
I forgot my shoes; everyone back in the house.
It was a beautiful Saturday. The slight breeze kept the baby cool while she was strapped to my back and every time I closed my eyes I was taken back to pleasant memories from my childhood. Memories of falling asleep outside on the trampoline with my dogs and a book next to me; a slight breeze that rocked me back and forth in my dreams.
At the park the older kids had a pretend sword fight with sticks while I sat and watched the baby eat wafers and pull at the grass. It was present and past perfection. The weather and kids laughing continued to provoke my favorite childhood memories.
I rolled on to my back and closed my eyes allowing the baby’s giggling coos and the soft breeze to guide the most pleasant of emotions. I was riding soft waves of happiness; this was our joy. What we were truly capable of without the negativity at home and the constant fighting with a stressed out husband.
Opening my eyes I am hypnotized by the dancing branches of the tree we sat under. The green of the leaves were brilliant thanks to the early light of fall and they too solicited from me a peaceful memory.
Back on my stomach I allow myself to get lost in my daughters exploration of the grass as my 14 year old sits down complaining of some trivial mishap between him and his 12 year old brother.
It was then I decided to share with him a story from my childhood. It was the first time I have ever been able to share it with a feeling of peace. That which hurts us the most is usually never holding hands with a peaceful disposition.
He focuses on the ground, preparing for a lecture, and I correct him. This is not a lecture; then I begin. I keep myself out of the story, making it about someone else for his sake.
“When I was a little girl I had a friend with a father who was very, very sick. He was schizophrenic. Do you know what that is?”
“Her parents got divorced and his mental health declined drastically. My friend felt very bad for her father. She wanted to help him but she didn’t know how
One night, the dogs started barking like crazy near her mothers window. When the phone rang her mother heard a noise and when she went to check it out her window was cracked open and a stool was laying on the ground, like someone had fell.
A few days later her father died. He had committed suicide. Her mothers therapist speculated it was supposed to be a homicide/suicide but her father got scared.
See son, You complain about minor stuff like not wanting broccoli with dinner or your brothers annoying you. But there are far worse things in life and people that have seen what hell looks like. Be thankful for your minor fights and broccoli”
He looks me in the eyes and we share a moment. In his eyes I see he knows the story was mine and in my heart I own it. There is no hiding truth, and no hiding my past from my kids. As they mature the more they understand of where I came from and how their lives compare. That I fought with every ounce of breath in me, every beat of my heart, and with every inch of my soul to be the mother I am for their sake. That they are more to me than just people, they are at the heart of who I am. I want them to know THAT is their worth; that they are loved beyond any words our language can express, beyond anything our finite minds can comprehend.
It is my legacy to my children.