The Nine R’s of November: Remembrance



Trying to write today (which will actually be yesterday by the time I post this) is nearly impossible. How do I talk about Remembrance when the whole world can’t talk about anything other than the U.S. Election and the fact that Trump won.

I didn’t actually cry over the results but I really felt like it. I felt both hollow and jittery, like my insides had been scooped out and replaced by a low buzz of fear.

When I awoke the morning after the election, Mister rolled over and asked me how I was feeling. In typical, overly dramatic fashion I said: I hate the world. He was confused because he was asking after my health – not the election – since I had gotten up at 12:30 a.m. Monday morning with a sick child and never really made it back to bed. I told him: I hate the world because of the election results and in annoyingly logical fashion he said: well, there is fresh warm bread in the bread maker so the world can’t be that bad. I wanted to cry and roll my eyes at him (but I didn’t because eye rolling is extremely rude). Instead I went downstairs and cut a big slab of hot bread and extracted my revenge on the world by loading it up with way too much margarine, had a cup of tea, and felt marginally better. Then the younger girls came downstairs, ate bread, and sang The Monkey Chased the Weasel a million times and giggled nonstop. And then my oldest girl came downstairs and curled up a little too close to me on the couch, looked up at me with her soulful eyes and said I love you with so much passion because she is afraid one day she is going to come downstairs and I will no longer be there. She tells me, in the most heartbreaking voice, that she loves me probably half a dozen times a day. And then the Mister came downstairs. I had to remind myself that there are so many good men in the world, especially this one who works so hard for our family and doubles as my partner and caregiver AND puts bread in the bread maker, setting the timer so we can have fresh hot bread and that we are going to be okay.

Anyway, I’m supposed to be talking about remembrance. That morning is a memory I should treasure. That in spite of what is going on with the country next door I have to remember to savour the life I am still living.

I often think about what kind of memories my children are going to have about me when I’m gone. Hopefully that won’t be for a very long time, but it is good to think of these things now.

I saw this quote recently:

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children – Charles R Swindoll

Every day we are creating memories for our children. Good memories, bad memories. Memories of happy times and times when mummy has had zero sleep and is going to growl at you for the slightest thing (and then apologize later).

I also once heard that the things we tell our children now become their inner voice later. This I know to be true because my inner voice sounds just like my father. It swears a lot and tells me constantly not to “be a half-job.”

It is hard to think of the memories you are going to leave your children when you are stuck in the muck and mire of every day parenting. There are things I want to put into place for my daughters for when I am gone. Like, writing to them and making photo albums – but to be honest I am really terrible at committing to those sorts of things. I’m hoping that by just being present we are creating good memories. I hope that they will remember how I always read to them. How I annoyed them by turning everything into a song. How I tried my hardest to feed them good food and made way too much soup – which some of them may hate now but someday they might wish they had the recipes.

I think about what kind of mark I want to leave on the world. I mean, shouldn’t we all be thinking about that? I hope I’m remembered as a good person, a kind person. Someone who was willing to lend a hand but sometimes I’m just so wrapped in myself that it is hard to get out there and help.

Today I got dressed up(ish) and Oonagh and I walked the block to the front door of the elementary school to see the Remembrance Day ceremony. I love Remembrance Day ceremonies. They make me feel like I am doing something important. Also, because I am sick and our community is tight-knit, leaving the house makes me feel like a minor celebrity. I waved to kids I knew. Got a hug from one of them. Sat with some mom-friends. Oonagh behaved herself wonderfully.

After Oh Canada, God Save the Queen and In Flanders Fields the children sang Micheal Jackson’s Heal The World – a very appropriate song for this week (also, a song that has been playing on repeat in my head since Moira was in Kindergarten and learned it then for that Remembrance Day ceremony). And as I watched that multicultural rainbow of children belting out this song I felt some hope for our future. Not just their future but mine too. I thought of how we remember those who have gone before us and the work they have done. And I decided that my work is not done yet and I’ve been rather slack in the being a good person department lately. I can do more. I have more help to give even if it is in small installments when my energy level allows. I want my girls to remember that living in this place of privilege means we have a responsibility to help others and that I didn’t shy away from it even though all I want to do is hang out at home, read them stories, and drink tea.

I don’t want my girls to remember me as a half job, and I want to leave this world putting as much love into it – or more – than I got out of it. After all, Love still trumps Hate.

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