I am not sure they will remember the year I lightened my hair to a strange reddish tone, or when I lost five pounds. Or gained seven. Or if they will remember the clothes in my closet, the handbags they rifle through looking for gum, my gold sandals they like to wear through the apartment (especially Henry), or the pear-scented oil I dab on the inside of their wrists before their father and I leave for a date night.
My children may remember how I scream at them to go to sleep, or brush their teeth, or stop playing with their food. They surely won’t forget my threatening to throw away Barbie dolls and trains if they weren’t picked up and put away this very second.
I hope they remember how they giggle every time their father and I hug in front of them.
I know they will remember how I lie down with each of them while they fall asleep, brushing hair off their faces, rubbing backs, and holding hands. Because their therapists will remind them how damaging this was to developing healthy sleep habits. They will certainly remember those things.
And they may remember how I hurry them out each day, demanding they keep up with me because we’re going to be late to ballet. Or school. Or the party.
I imagine they will remember not that there were weeks that I went to the gym every day, and months that I did not; but they will remember having lunch together at coffee shops or in the park. That I bring sandwiches and chips to the playground. That often I leave them with the sitter so I can pick their sister up at school, or go off to do my work. That I don’t look back while they cry for me.
I hope they remember that we play stickers and cars on the living room floor. That I finally found “bunny” one night with the dirty laundry so that Ellie could sleep. I hope they remember I love squeezing them. That they make me laugh even when I’m angry.
I hope that when they are older and discuss among themselves how we went many places, and did many things, and that mom took a lot of photos of them, they will also remember how we say “I love you” so many times a day.
I hope I smile more than I scowl. That I sing more than I curse. And that they remember I was happy to see them most mornings–their crazy bed hair and missing pajama bottoms. If they remember we were often out of milk or their favorite cereal, I hope they remember I made Micky Mouse out of waffles, gave them juice sometimes just because they asked, and that I sat with them at breakfast drinking my coffee with the moon still outside the window.
I hope I remember to keep pushing myself to make their memories sweeter, to look up from my phone when Molly wants to show me a picture, to describe my heart directly to them and not only when I write. Because one day, for all of us, it will be too late for new ones. And they will remember.