Sunday, April 24, 2011

Do your children know who you are?

Before you start feeling guilty about the images you didn't put into scrapbooks about your kids this winter, I want to give you a fresh new project to think about.

For Mother's Day this year, I'm preparing a photo book about ME to give my kids.

Before they came into our lives, we dreamed about what kind of mother we wanted to be -- what kind of child we might have. Then our child was HERE and we love them and nurture them and pick up after them and earn money to feed them and clothe them and we warn them about dangers like stairs, sockets, sharp things and strangers.

In an instant, it seems, the philosophy of parenting -- what is the wisdom I want to share with you, my beloved child? -- slips further away as we concentrate on the day to day.

This year, however, I'm digging out my old notebooks, kept in the years leading up to Motherhood for me, and the photos of me from my 20s and 30s looking bright and thin and adventurous. And I'm compiling them in a Shutterfly memory book that is all about their Mom, the kind of life I led before they came into my life...and what I hope for THEIR bright future.

Making it easier, I found a list I had made, just post-divorce in my early 30s, titled "What do I know?", written six years before I became a Mom. It includes nuggets like:
• I don't like people who don't respect and accept individual choice
• I love music and I love to dance
• I admire calmness, wit, confidence, intelligence and grace
• I don't like the spotlight but do insist that I stand apart from the norm
• I have confidence I will land on my feet eventually, whatever the situation

One of my notebooks contains lengthy journal entries from trips I took in Eastern Europe, Madagascar and Australia. Others are notes for novels I have nursed.

I also -- from a time when I was especially finding my way to a new stage of life -- have quotes that will very much be part of my special Mother's Day book to my children. Such as:

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" -- Anais Nin

"I learn by going where I have to go." -- Theodore Roethke

"True life is lived when tiny changes occur." -- Leo Tolstoy

"Discovering in every man that which distinguishes him from others is to know him." -- Hermann Hesse

"Develop interest in life as you see it, in people, things, literature, music -- the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls, and interesting people. Forget yourself." -- Henry Miller

I will pick a few images and photos to make my own personalized Mother's Day card from me to them. And I will even make a special thank you card to my own mother this year, for helping me become the kind of Mother I am.

What insights do YOU want your children to know from you?
For this Mother's Day, write it down.
Even if your children aren't here yet, or are well gone.

-- Mikki
P.S. If you blog, Shutterfly is offering 50 free cards for people who mention their special photobook and announcement projects. Click here.

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