just a mom figuring it out one day at a time

The Call

It was day two of CJ sick duty, with KC along for the ride. As I was cleaning up the gourmet lunch of Shrek chicken noodle soup and toast the phone rang. It was my Sister, but the confusing thing was that it was an hour after they should have left for the airport.

“I thought you were supposed to be on your way to the airport.” I said.

“I am, I just needed to call you and go over a few things before we leave. Do you have a paper and pen?” She replied as if I was to scribe her grocery list.

Hmmm. Paper and pen. She was serious. Sitting at my desk, pen poised in hand I scribbled notes over the next few minutes. I listened as my Sister went over a laundry list of mundane items: where important papers were located; files locations; passwords etc. and then she began to talk about the girls. The light banter ceased.

“You know, if anything were to happen to us, there are things I wanted to share with you about the girls. I would always want to make sure that they eat fresh fruits and vegetables.” She paused, as if she did not know what she wanted to say next.

Ok, no brainer. Of course I would make sure that they have good, nutritious food. Taking advantage of the pause, I interjected, “Are you planning on not coming back?” The comment was made in jest, but the pause in my breath indicated something more.

“No. No I am planning on coming back. I just wanted to make sure all my thoughts and wishes for my girls are fulfilled should something happen.” She laughed and continued. “I would want them to dance, Flamenco- of course, run and play soccer–Or whatever really makes them happy. Oh, and I would want them to learn history and a foreign language too- preferably Spanish, but I just want them to learn. They like their hair brushed off their foreheads when they are going to sleep and we always read to them at night.”

Listening to her speak, as she prepared to leave for Spain to pursue her passion, she wanted to make sure that someday that her daughters would know of her parents’ passions in life. And, if they chose to adopt them as their own or seek out others, the underlying message was clear- pursue your passion. This was ultimately her parting message for her girls.

I hung up the phone and returned to the unknown noodle blobs floating in a sea of chicken broth. Staring at the bright orange carrot stuck to the side of the well-worn Dora bowl, I mulled over her words. Not really knowing how to digest them, I simply turned towards the sink and poured my son’s leftover, probably flu contaminated soup down the sink. I had taken the notes, and hopefully would never need them. I thought I could just leave it at that and just move forward. That phone call was 5 days ago and I am still playing it over and over again in my head.

I think about the girls. My nieces delight me. The older is within months of KC and the younger has KC’s spirit. They are beautiful, spirited and gentle all at the same time. Thinking of them, I can smell the lotion that is religiously used after they take a “tubby” to make sure they don’t have dry skin. I think of my Sister and Brother in-law. They are such profoundly good parents and then I wonder, could I live up to their legacy? In my heart I know that if anything would happen I would do everything in my power to make sure that they know who their parents were, but also give them the freedom to develop their own identities. And yet….I also think about me. How would I do it?

Each day I face challenges, just like everyone else, and I try to figure out how I can be a better mother and person. So how then would I also not only “mother” them but make sure that with each action I preserve their parent’s identities, wishes and ultimately spirits? I don’t really know exactly what I would do, but can only believe that it would just be another dimension to what I am already doing. Challenging yes, but I know that out of my love and respect for my Sister and Brother in-law, somehow I would find a way to do it all. Or at least, I would hope so…

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