Sometimes in this crabby world we live in, with civility flying out the window, I worry that perhaps we put more effort into making good impressions with strangers, and less into treating the people closest to us with kindness. I wonder how much gentleness and patience we show to those we treasure the most.
If you were to leave your family now for one reason or another (work, illness, to start a revolution), how would they remember you?
The fun parent?
Would the people outside your family think more of you than the ones you live with?
I often tease my girls because they get such fantastic reports from their teachers. I joke that they must have gotten me confused with another mom. They roll their eyes at me a lot.
It would seem they’re helpful, supportive little angels with their classmates and teachers but wow, when they come home the other side emerges. Honestly though, I’d rather have it like that than the other way around. I want home to be a place where they can cut loose and be themselves, warts and all. I want them to be more well-behaved in public than they are at home.
But is that always best? Don’t the people we’re closest to deserve the same kindness and respect we show others? Shouldn’t that be our message?
Getting slapped upside the head with my own mortality has made me more aware than ever of how I come across to my daughters and my husband (who often sees the most warts). I wish I could say cancer has made me a nicer person. One of those sunshine and roses, cancer is a gift sort of people but it didn’t.
I’m still crabby and tired and short-tempered more often than I’d like to admit but at the end of the day I do ask myself if that’s the lasting impression I want to make. It’s not!
They are the ones who deserve my kindness, patience and attention the most regardless of how I feel or how tired I am.
So as the 5 yr anniversary of my diagnosis approaches, and as I wonder how long this newest drug will work, I’m reminded of how much I have to treasure and how important it is to be here with them now, not just in body but in spirit.
What little energy I have needs to go into making sure they know how much I love them and into building lasting memories. I want that to be what they remember. Not how I was always too busy or too tired or otherwise checked out.
If there were ever to be a biography of my life I’d hope the best comments and stories would come from the people I love, not from strangers who knew a different, and better, side of me.
And you? What will your story be?
This post was inspired by the book Young Mandela: The Revolutionary Years by David James Smith . I received a copy of the book, free of charge, for review through the online book club From Left to Write. Please click on the link to read more posts inspired by this book and others.
This book takes a look at the early years of Nelson Mandela. His childhood up to the events that led to his imprisonment. It’s a much more personal examination of his life as he left his wife and children behind to live on the run . It gives a greater picture of who he was as a man and the impact of his actions on the people around him as he became a revolutionary.