I see you walking the aisles of the grocery store, and I want you to know that I remember You.
Beneath that chaotic mess of hair, strands falling out of the elastic, into your eyes, around your ears, and down the back of your neck… I remember You.
Draped in the stained, stretched, and probably stinky tee. The one you threw on this morning. The only one clean. And the one you’ve kept on all day because you’d be damned before adding to the pile of laundry before it’s gotten its full day’s worth … I remember You.
Under those sweats. The ones hiding the winter white legs that haven’t been shaved for days because long showers are a luxury of the past… I remember You.
Behind those dark eyelids, heavy from sleepless nights, and bare of any makeup… I remember You.
Beyond that worried look, wondering if you’ve forgotten something. Did your kids have enough fruits or veggies today? Did you remember to sign up for parent-teacher conferences? Did you respond to the coach’s email? Did you pay the water bill? Did you forget to unplug the damn iron again (and is your house now up in flames)…. I remember You.
Within the outward appearance of a mama scrambling, tripping, struggling through the day to day… I remember You.
Did you forget? Did you forget to remember You?
There was a time that I forgot too.
From the moment I found out I was going to have a child, I became Mom.
The second those beautiful nurses placed that precious baby boy in my arms, I embraced being Mom. I embraced it so hard that it was all I was. I was feeder, protector, nurturer, with every ounce of my being. There was no time to think of being anything else. And it was all I wanted to be.
As the years passed, I was granted more time for myself. But I never felt like it was time for me. It was time for Mom to take a break. But I was still only Mom. That title comes with baggage. I couldn’t walk out my front door alone without carrying the longing, the guilt that comes with leaving my children’s side.
I know very well how we forget to remember ourselves and it took me a long time to remember Me. To remember Me as an individual.
When those chubby little hands are tugging your shirt sleeves one way, and the duties of life are pulling another, we often times forget that there, in the middle, in the midst of the struggle, lies a Me.
And that Me deserves your attention just as much as all the rest.
I don’t think I can pinpoint the moment, the day, or even the year that I remembered. It was probably when my kids became more independent. When my husband and I settled into a rhythm of balancing parenthood with work and our own relationship. When life gave me a second to assess my priorities. To realize the difference of doing what was expected, doing what was necessary, and doing what felt right. It was around that time that I allowed myself to remember Me. And since then, I’ve not only paid homage to the memory of Me… I’ve given myself allowance become the remembered Me again.
I remember myself in my writing. In the sweat I lay down in the gym. In the nights out with my girls. In the date nights with my hubby. In a lone walk through the woods. In whatever space makes me feel like an entity in and of myself. I remember Me.
That’s not to say that I’m not Mom in those moments, but I’m not ONLY Mom.
I’ve come to realize that this isn’t a selfish notion. It’s necessary one. I want to show my children that while we all might enter into a universal existence, we should still grant ourselves our individuality.
The crown of motherhood is placed on our heads, and while it’s a gilded blessing, it’s heavy with responsibility. But the beauty of that haloed piece shines brightest because of the woman who bears it.
So, Mama. As I watch you trudge down that aisle, forgetting yourself, I remember You.
It’s ok if you’ve forgotten yourself today. And tomorrow. Soon enough, you’ll remember you too. And on that day that crown of motherhood will feel less like a heavy burden, and more like a golden halo.
I remember your shine, Mama. The beautiful you that’s still there. I just want you to remember too!