I spent a good portion of today cleaning my parents condo and cooking for my dad when I'm gone. It struck me how my daughter and I were so careful to put things back the way they were, the way my mom would have wanted them. It's been nearly two years since my mom herself placed things where they are. My dad has a cleaning lady come now most of the time. When my sister or my niece or I visit we usually clean so that he doesn't have to call the cleaning person. It's obvious to me that they also try to put things back where my mom had them. The linen closet doesn't have her touch any more....it's been replaced with the way we all fold things....none of us being able to duplicate her way of doing it. Her touch. I remember my sister saying last year how she was kinda annoyed that the cleaning lady redid the guest towels (which no one uses) because my mom had made a little flower out of the wash cloth and now that was gone. I totally agree with her. Seems silly to most I'm sure but those were the little touches my mom's house had that no one else's ever did. They were important to her. And they were obviously important to us. I told my daughter how proud YaYa would be in the way she cleaned the bedroom. As I vacuumed the purple carpet I remembered when she was bedridden and asked me to vacuum that same carpet. I was almost irritated because I couldn't believe that she was so weak and she was worried and bothered by the fuzz on that carpet. It was something that always bothered me as a child, that I felt my mom put more emphasis on vacuuming then she did on spending time with us. Today, I took comfort in it. Watching the sweeper make the tell tale lines in the carpet. I felt close to her. It made me wonder what my kids would try to keep alive when my physical presence is gone. I know for damn sure it won't be how I cleaned. Although I like my house clean it is totally not a priority in my life. I do it because I have to and my kids know that.
My daughter, who is 12 and completely capable of making her own breakfast, asked me to make her waffles this morning. She takes such delight every morning when I make them. As if a gourmet meal is placed before her. She exclaims, nearly daily, "no one makes waffles like you do mommy. You always put the perfect amount of butter on them and they are always just right crispy." I get it. I'd give anything to have my mom make me a sandwich. No one ever makes them like she did. I know there will be those memories that my kids will miss. But what will they try to keep alive? I have no idea.
It makes me want to try harder. It makes me want to have things that only I can do in a way that only I can do them. Don't get me wrong, I know there are things that my kids will always remember me doing. I'm a good mom, this I know. It's probably the only thing in my life that I know I'm good at and I feel comfortable saying that I'm good at. But what makes me stand out in their minds? What will make them say, "Remember how mommy did that?" Or don't touch that, mommy put it there. Or maybe they won't do that. Maybe their memories will be enough. Who knows.
My youngest son wrote his senior paper this past week. He said that mottos were never important in his life. The only one that he cared about growing up was one I instilled in him.....Family first. That was instilled in me by my dad. I know that there will be things that the 3 of them will carry on because of me, just like I carry on things from my mom. I just hope and pray that they will always know how very much I loved them and that everything I did, I did for them.