Love’s memory

By Mir
August 28, 2008

I’m not being the person I want to be, this week. I’m not entirely sure why, either. Sure, I’m tired, I’m fighting a cold, I’m feeling somewhat overwhelmed with work… but none of those things is the reason. Maybe it’s the combination, maybe it’s none of that at all. I am just—as I grumped at someone, earlier—Having A Week.

The unfortunately side effect of this situation is that I’m not exactly being patient with my children. I am TRYING, really, but if I’m being perfectly honest I have to admit that I am NOT succeeding.

They are driving me nuts. They are driving me nuts by BEING KIDS. The nerve of them.

Chickadee’s mission in life seems to be testing my patience even under the best of circumstances, and my tolerance for her standard arsenal of selective hearing, half-truths, and penchant for flinging barbs at her brother is at an all-time low. I am not proud of this.

Monkey… oh, my Monkey. Monkey doesn’t have a harsh bone in his body, you know. Monkey is a skeleton of compassion, covered with skin comprised entirely of warm, fuzzy kisses. Unfortunately, he is also a primate of very little brain when it comes to remembering things. Like, say, remembering to bring his assignment book home. Two days in a row he has forgotten his homework, and on the second day he didn’t even remember to tell me he’d forgotten it. My reaction to this state of events was not pretty.

Then, of course, there’s the notebooks left on the table, the Lego left in the family room, the backpacks spilling over by the door, laundry on the stairs, and the pantry doors left flung wide open after snack. Everywhere I go there is evidence that two small self-absorbed people live here, and this week, every reminder feels like reproach for my failure to instill good habits in the very people I am supposed to be molding.

This week will pass, of course. (Why, look at that—it already almost has.) The kids will forgive me for not being at my best, and I will forgive them and myself for not being perfect.

People keep telling me that when these days are over, I will miss the little messes and the noise and the drama. I know that it’s true, too. I will. And when I look back, I don’t want to remember the frustration and the bickering and the wondering (and occasionally asking) WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Because nothing is wrong; this is just how this particular journey goes.

I won’t look back and remember stepping on toys left on the floor or library books lost in the couch or even the week when I was cranky and Chickadee cried over her homework and Monkey couldn’t remember to bring his home. I’ll remember family dinners and nighttime tuck-ins and the times when we all got it right. Or maybe the times when we got it wrong but it was still okay.

I’ll also remember that Monkey never forgets to practice piano.

His Bakugan like to watch, apparently. And then an hour later he couldn’t remember where he left them. Of course.

This one, I can remember for him.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone.


  1. Megan

    You promise? You promise I won’t remember that stuff? Because there are days (and yes, weeks) when it seems like it’s ALL that stuff. Then there are the days that come after when I still haven’t forgiven myself and am still in that endless round of “oh god, WHY did I do that?” Thank goodness my Children are more generous than I and are willing to view me (usually)through those flattering rose-colored glasses they seem to have.

  2. Mom of the Brady Bunch

    I have six of them to leave things everywhere….I so feel your pain of stepping on a lego, and the forgetting of homework. Sigh. Maybe, Mir, you need to work in some bacony goodness and a good cup of coffee. Me time is in order. ((HUGS))

  3. jennielynn

    I’m with Megan. It seems like all motherhood is comprised of these days is “no” and “stop” and why didn’t you…”

    I’m sure it will get better. I’m just not sure when.

  4. Tricia

    It doesn’t help in the moment, but the very idea of NOT having those little messes is much scarier than finding our way through. Remember to take time for you.

  5. Maki

    I have two little children myself (girls 2 & 4) and as much as I’d like to be the perfect mom, sometimes I find it so difficult to be that.. I hate myself always telling them “no!” “stop!” and “whhhhyyyy????” – it makes me so terrible and tiny. The look on their faces just disappoints me as I say it. They are just little kids, you know? I’m sure I was just like them when I was at their age (now I know why my daddy was telling me “no” often times.)

    I remember reading a book that says “sometimes, you need to come down to your child’s level and think why they’re doing the things they do” – I think I need to do that before I throuw my aggrevation to their faces. I love you blog! Thank you!

  6. cupcake40

    Boy do I know the feeling. My daughter (at the tender age of 13) was put on this earth to drive me to drink (figuratively speaking)and knows exactly what buttons to push on her little brother. I spent the last two school years (Grade 2 and 3)with a son who constantly forgot to bring his homework home or leave it at home the next morning. There was daily notes between his teacher and myself. Now that he has started 4th grade I asked him if he was going to remember this year. My only saving grace is my middle child – she rarely tests my nerves and always remembers her homework. I tell myself all the time, I am going to miss this and I really don’t want them to grow up to fast. For my sake and theirs.

  7. Astrogirl426

    Oh, yeh this has been one of those weeks. I have been COUNTING the days until school starts, which makes me sad. (sigh) Mine is starting kindergarten this year, so I’m sure we;ll have lots of forgotten homework to look forward to. But there’s also the Big Bus to ride to school, and the move from preschool to Big Boy school….All very exciting for the lil guy, and all good reminders that this is all new for them, too.

  8. elizabeth

    here is to a better week next week. and the kids will probably forgive you before you forgive yourself. (if they haven’t already forgotten)
    I have found myself so frustrated with my 4-year-old this week that I’ve a bit louder than usual. I wonder if its because its been a drippy week around here.

  9. Jan

    Maybe you’re pregnant! hahahahaha … I crack myself up.

    I absolutely hate it when I open my mouth and the words “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” come out. You’d think that might mean it wouldn’t happen, but you’d be wrong.

    Here’s hoping next week is better.

  10. The Other Other Dawn

    I can promise. All the messes and the forgetfulness (don’t know where mine got that from), the “She’s looking at me!”, the doors left open (or closed when they should be open) have been forgotten. Probably due to perimenopause, but what the heck. Whatever works. It’s all forgotten.

    The TV remote in the fish tank? Not so much.

  11. Katherine

    My 4th grade boy has been forgetting things at school constantly this year – way worse than last year. Last night we finally put a piece of masking tape in the back of his bookbag that says “binder, folder, agenda” because he has forgotten at least one of those at least 2x per week so far. The teacher will excuse the forgetting of agenda with a note from a parent. I wrote a note the first time, but since then, he must write a note and I’ll sign it.

    I’m sure he would forget stuff at home too, except I ask him to check evening and morning to make sure everything is there.

  12. Mamacita

    Dear Everyone,

    This, too, SHALL pass, and when it does, you won’t remember much about the mess and the frustration. Memory is selective, especially when it comes to our children.

    You’ll just miss THEM. Messes are so temporary, all you dear young(er) parents. Just a few years out of our lives and BANG, those whiny, clinging, leaky, needy little people are grown and gone and you’re standing there in your clean, tidy, quiet house wondering what happened?

    Unless, of course, your house is STILL sticky and messy, which will make you realize that you and/or your spouse were part of the problem. :)

    But what do I know?

  13. Nancy Mehegan

    I love your honesty. Sometimes life is really hard. Our entire staff is getting paid one week late because of a snafu with a payment from a client. All day long I take nasty phone calls (the bookkeeper refuses take any calls). I have checks bouncing —- but I choose to be grateful. I don’t live in the Sudan, with someone chasing me at night-time. I love in a plentiful country. I am not imprisoned. The weather is nice. I wish I had the spirit my dog Freddy had — never worried — just bounded about joyfully. Sometimes our brains are our worst enemies. I choose IRRATIONAL POSITIVITY TODAY.

  14. Sharkey

    Reminds me of that Trace Adkins song You’re Gonna Miss This. Even if you don’t like country music, give it a listen. So true.

  15. Karen

    The funny thing about memories when they are about people you love… mostly remember the good. Why is that? Yet, the second I want to remember something that is good in life that isn’t related to someone I love I can’t bring it back. Now if it’s something I really, really, really want to forget, ya, it’s there forever.

    My Mom to this day tells me she wishes she had yelled less and spent more time playing with us. She says she yelled a lot. You know, my 36 year old brain has no, none, zip, memory of this. I do remember wishing she had more time to spend with us, but the yelling, I really don’t remember.

    You’re a great mom and the kids won’t remember this week. Next week you will all be back into a routine and you’ll not feel so out of sorts.

  16. Em

    In response to Sharkey’s comment, Trace Adkins also has one called Then They Do (I don’t know how to post links). He must have a knack for songs like that. I find they make me feel more like a heel for losing my temper sometimes but it does also offer perpective. I should keep those songs on a loop in the house maybe I wouldn’t lose my sh*t as much.

    Think of it this way, Mir, if you were perfect and never ever raised a voice or lost your temper, how lousy would your kids feel when they grew up and couldn’t live up to the (really, impossible) standard of parenting? You are doing them a FAVOR by occassionally flying off the handle. Right? Thats my story and I’m sticking to it.

  17. Rebecca

    Ohhh I hope you are right… I hope they remember when I get it right because I feel like I get it wrong too often. Great post!

  18. Mary Anne

    I’m right there with you. I’ve gotten to the point where if it’s something I know they won’t remember to do 10 seconds after I tell them, I just automatically say it three times in a row. “Brush your teeth, brush your teeth, brush your teeth” Sure I sound crazy and if its a really bad day I do it curled up in a little ball position…sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    All I know is, I get crazy thinking of my 9 and 7 year old getting any bigger so I am almost *sorta* willing to deal with this bc the alternative is more than my tiny brain can absorb.

    You’re a good mom, you can tell from your site! :)

  19. jenn

    It must be epidemic because I am having exactly that kind of week too… yesterday totally suuuuucked.

  20. Caroline in MA

    I too, find it hard to believe that some day, this will all be over – the bickering, the hitting, the diapers, the noise OH THE NOISE!!! But as another poster mentioned, the song by Trace Adkins, You’re Gonna Miss This, totally puts everything into perspective. I bawl my eyes out listening to that song, thinking of my babies growing up… I want them to, I just don’t want it to go as quickly as I know it will…

    This too shall pass, Mir, and we’ll all be holding your hand commiserating with you…

  21. dad

    I’m with Mamacita.
    She said it all…well almost all.

  22. susie

    Yes, exactly. Having one of the weeks, months myself. And all too soon, it will pass and I won’t remember how frustrated I was – and hopefully the kids won’t either.

  23. tori

    My son leaves stuff all over the house and can’t find it too! I used to look all over to help him find it until I realized that the reason he can’t find things is because he carries them around and puts them down wherever he is. I now have a basket downstairs and a basket upstairs. Whenever I, or anyone in the house find something that isn’t where it belongs, we put it in the basket closest to us. It seems to have worked for us…I don’t have junk (important things according to him) all over the house, and he is able to find his things easier.

    But since my 3 older kids went back to school I am missing them like crazy. I am not happy about them being away all day at all!

  24. Sharon

    Like you, I was there with my kids the whole way. I knew to pay attention as time was passing, that their childhoods wouldn’t last forever. With all the joys and frustrations, I loved having kids and I loved having them around when they were kids. I do not, nor have I ever, missed the messes, the noise, or the drama. Soak it all in now, and then you won’t have to miss it later.

  25. Flea

    What great piano companions. :)

    Unfortunately, the kids will remember all of the bickering and junk. Their selective memories and ours differ in the most amazing ways.

    My youngest and I have been at each other’s throats all week. It took me a few days to figure it out, but he’s ADHD, right? And medicated. And he works so hard at school all day to be good, listen, learn and cooperate. By the time he gets home, he’s given it all he’s got, cap’n. And he falls apart. I just couldn’t figure out why he went from good kid to basket case once school started. Maybe a nap would help. Yeah. I think I’ll go take one now …

  26. Daisy

    I love how Monkey’s “friends” watch him practice. I hope they enjoy his tunes!

  27. Kathy

    Oh my goodness. You just described how I feel today . . . and so eloquently.

  28. ChristieNY

    Oh yes. Parenting is hard. I can commiserate my dear. I’m knee deep in emotional and physical stress weaning my youngest from breastfeeding. It has not been an easy week, and the older one is not making it any easier on us.

    Hang in there sweetie, this too shall pass and the memories will be lovely. I hope. ;)

  29. danelle

    My kids are grown and gone and I miss them terribly. The time really does fly and before you know it they are waving goodbye from the front seat of a uhaul. It’s hard to cherish every moment, especially when the days just seem to drag on and nobody ever listens, and everyone is bickering.

    I wanted to share this:

    One of these days you’ll explode and shout to the kids, “Why don’t you grow up and act your age?”
    …and they will.


    “You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do. And don’t slam the door!”
    …and they don’t.

    You’ll straighten up the boys’ bedroom neat and tidy — bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you’ll say out loud, “Now I want it to stay this way.”
    …and it will.

    You’ll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn’t been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you’ll say, “Now, there’s a meal for company.”
    …and you’ll eat it alone.

    You’ll say: “I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do your hear?”
    …and you’ll have it.

    No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghtetti.
    No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms.
    No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps.
    No more clothespins under the sofa.
    No more playpens to arrange a room around.
    No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent
    No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathrooms.
    No more iron-on-patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, or rubber bands for ponytails.
    Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it.
    No baby sitter for New Year’s Eve.
    Washing only once a week.
    Seeing a steak that isn’t ground.
    Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.
    No PTA meetings.
    No car pools.
    No blaring radios.
    No one washing her hair at 11 o’clock at night.
    Having your own roll of Scotch tape.
    Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste.
    No more sloppy oatmeal kisses.
    No more tooth fairy.
    No giggles in the dark.
    No knees to heal, no responsibility.

    Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up?” and the silence echoing,
    “I did.”


  30. Caroline in MA

    No fair… danelle made me cry…

  31. Katie in MA

    Thanks, Mir – your post was very timely. Gracie and I are having, actually, a pretty good week. But last night I lost it. Among everything else – daycare prices jumped $100/month, the house is a disaster, none of my projects got done this week – Gracie ripped her wound open AGAIN. This time it’s gaping open. I’m afraid that before this week is over, I’ll trip over their toys, look down, and find an ear amongst them. So thanks for the reminder to appreciate the little things. But I haven’t yet come to miss the nights without a tearful page to the on-call doctor!

  32. Annie

    Isn’t the plural of Lego…Legi?

  33. Rori Raye

    Such a true and thoughtful post, thank you. The ups and downs, the chaos of it all. My daughter is 20 now, and not only do I remember every moment where I wasn’t “perfect” – I let moments go by right now that could go in the “incredible” jar and instead hang onto the “awful” ones where our mother/daughter connection seems gone, she looks at me like I’m dense, and I question myself one more time. I’ve learned to embrace chaos, not sweat the small stuff, and stay focused in the present moment – but my memory of when she was small and how she was the focus of my life instead of how it is now, with me the reluctant focus of my life, can feel overwhelming. Thank you for bringing it all back – and you sound absolutely easy and wonderful. Look forward to more posts.

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