( mom guilt makes me do crazy things, like agreeing to take the whole neighborhood to the mall)
I have a really awful memory. My husband can tell you the names of every teacher he had in elementary school and then all of the home room teachers he had in junior high and high school. I can only remember the name of my third grade teacher Mrs. York, and that's only because she was so horrible.
I don't remember what I made for dinner last week, or any ones name until it's been repeated at least five times. I have to constantly look up math videos on You Tube so I can help my 9 year old daughter with her math homework, partly because I was never good at math, and mostly because I cannot for the life of me remember how to do long division.
What I do remember, in crystal clear detail, is the time my son almost drowned right in front of me because I wasn't paying attention.
I remember my daughter Samm saying "mom, look at James!" and seeing him struggling under the water. I can even remember the sound of his gasping breath as I brought him up out of the water. For days after I would feel absolutely sick every time I thought about it and all of the "what if's." Especially, the what if Samm hadn't seen him.
I don't think about it that often anymore, but when I do, I remember it all. Fortunately time has lessened the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, but it hasn't erased the guilt. I was busy talking instead of being the one who makes sure my children are safely tucked in bed at the end of the day. I wasn't doing my job, and even though I was incredibly blessed that my son is OK, my punishment is that I can't forget.
Now I have a new image burning in my mind. One I want to forget but can't.
Two days ago, I took all the kids with me to take some one year pictures of my little Laila. It was a horrible day and I was grumpy and snappy and irritated that Laila was not cooperating very well. (You can see those pictures Here if you really want to, and read more about my day) And then she fell. It was my fault for letting her sit on a bench that was too high and then asking my four year old Macy to hop off just as I walked away for a second.
Watching her fall forward and knowing I couldn't catch her was horrible, but watching her face bounce as it hit the ground and then feeling her whole body shake while she screamed in pain, was gut wrenching.
I wanted to start screaming myself. I wanted to take away her pain more than anything. Every time she whimpered and every time I had to wipe a little blood away from her nose, tore at my heart. And it's not something I will be able to forget anytime soon.
Sometimes, I think the hardest part about being a mom, isn't the diapers, and the lunches, and the fighting over toys. It's not being able to save them from every fall, every tear, every heartache. It's having to watch them experience life.
And right now, as horrible as some of those moments are, I'm grateful for the opportunity they give me to hug my kids a little bit longer and soak in every ounce of how lucky I am to be their mom.