As a memoirist, it is hard not to imagine what role we will play in our children's future stories.
I recently had the pleasure of hearing several female memoir authors speak. Their mothers played a huge role not only in their lives, but in their writing. It made me think about what my children will say about me someday. Will they feel like I've had a positive influence on them? Will they highlight things that they found funny or crazy about me when they repeat anecdotes? Or will they blame me for things I did wrong?
My mother had a tremendous influence on my life, both good and bad. Now that she is gone, I prefer to remember the good. And, it was mostly good. Like all young working mothers, I remember her being stressed out. But then, as she grew more comfortable in her own skin and with her path in life, she morphed from a good mother into a great mother and a best friend.
And beyond that, she became a fabulous grandmother. So, in reflection, I remember her as a real person, not a perfect person, but someone who truly found her groove in the world and evolved into exactly she was meant to be.
Clearly, it's not practical to imagine how your children will view you in the future as a guideline for parenting, but we are definitely part of the story they are writing about their lives. Whether or not they literally write down this story, or just tell others, we are inextricably woven into the fabric of who they will become.
Sometimes, when my mother knew she had said the wrong thing to me, she would then say: "Oh no, this is what you're going to tell the psychiatrist some day! I wish I could be there to explain myself."
I now know exactly what she was talking about because I've had those moments with my own girls. I try to apologize to them when I'm wrong, and take responsibility for not always doing or send the right thing.
I just hope they will tread lightly and be gentle when they recall their mother some day to others. I hope they will always remember how much I loved them. And I pray for my own preservation that neither of them become writers …
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.