Becca was home from school with a bad cold for two days this week. I ended up sitting with her in the living room watching junky videos – Bridget Jones one day, American Graffiti the next – and it was so lovely, almost worth having her sick.
My friend Melissa commented that
I am convinced that when our kids grow up and think back upon their childhoods they will remember not the vacations or activities we provided, but the moments like when they were sick and mom sat on the couch with them and watched movies.
It seems like a lot of my friends have been losing parents this year – an occupational hazard, I suppose, of being in one’s 50s. Ellen and Carolyn lost fathers to pancreatic cancers. My college friend Elliot lost his mother. Over the summer, Susie M.’s father dropped dead practically overnight. Now, just in the past couple of weeks, Laura and Susie W. lost fathers, Frances lost her mother, and Joanne lost her father-in-law. (I lost my own mother to ovarian cancer back in 1986.)
That, together with Melissa’s comment, started me thinking.
What childhood memories of my mom do I recall with the most warmth and comfort?
Just off the top of my head:
- I remember her sitting beside my bed and telling me stories with her cigarette. The tip would be a glowing red point of light in the dark room, and she would make pictures or spell words with it, like in the book Gus and the Firefly.
- I remember acting out stories with her, entire cosmological dramas that she would let bossy-me narrate and direct, and that went on for weeks and months. In one set of stories she was Batman, my little brother was Robin, and my sister was a made-up villain called Rainmaker who used one of those old metal ice trays as her rain-making weapon. I was the antihero (but really the star) – Catwoman.
Of course we had family vacations and trips and parties. But as Melissa said, those mundane memories are more emotionally resonant than any of the exotic ones.
Now it’s my turn to ask you. I warmly invite you to post a comment:
Which childhood memories are most comforting and meaningful to you?