I got a message from Mom recently. I hadn’t expected it when I was curled up, cosy and pj-clad in my corner of the couch. The littlest ones were sound asleep and I was just back from putting our eldest son Henry to bed. It was a clear windless night and a bright moon was perched low in the sky.
Henry and I had been snuggled up and chatting in his bed when I caught a glimpse of the moon through an opening in the curtain. “Hey do you think you could run to the moon Henry?” I whisper. “Ya Mom, if I had a helmet and there was gravity.” He didn’t give a resounding no. I smile at him in the dark and return to my blanket on the couch.
I feel calm and content. We’re on the right track with these kiddos. My husband and I are chilling out and catching up after a long day. RTÉ News is on the TV in the background and Brian Dobson is reading off the day’s happenings. My phone beeps. The sound cuts through our conversation. A picture appears. It’s her writing. I imagine a pen in her hand, I can see her fingers gripping it. I can smell her clean smell; a mixture of Blistex lip balm and Jergens lotion. I can hear her breathing and that barely audible little click that comes from the back of her throat when she’s resting. The outside of her hand is pressed gently against the paper. It’s all of her but it’s not her. A borage of images emerge from her penmanship. Mom’s anniversary was last month.
My old high school friend Jaclyn had sent me the image of Mom’s message. She had found it in a scrapbook from 1996. I would have received the same book when I graduated, but funny enough, I don’t remember ever reading this note before. It is a note full of encouragement. She signed it from herself and all the family.
Mom was a hard-working, tenacious, and remarkably positive person. As you can see from her message she tried to instil these traits in me. Mom had so many hopes for myself and my three sisters. She wanted us to believe in ourselves because she believed in us. She dreamed big dreams for us. We worked hard work to achieve our dreams and she supported us as we tried.
Over twenty years after Mom wrote the note, I hear her message. It’s a message of hope. A mother’s hope that her child will persevere, strive for, and achieve all that she is worthy of.
Have I become the person she hoped I’d become? I strive to keep a calm mind and to consistently work towards my goals. I try. That’s the best I can do. Most importantly, I strive to instil in my children a sense of self-confidence. Like Mom, I make every effort to give them the encouragement they need to accomplish their dreams, no matter how big or how small. If Henry isn’t ruling out running to the moon, then yes, I think I’m on the right track.
I’m not saying stick me up on a podium and give me the best parent on the planet award. I’m far from perfect. I lose my patience, I get frustrated. I’m human. I beat myself up. I cut myself breaks. I’m trying to do my best. We all are.
We all encourage our kids. We want them to feel, in every cell in their little bodies, that they can achieve their dreams. This is what Mom wanted for me 20 years ago and this is what I want for my kids today.
You want to score a goal, Henry? Keep trying. You want to climb up the hill at the back of the house, Sadie? Come on march those strong legs, let’s go. Tony, you want to jump in the pool? Arms out and 1, 2, 3, go!
Mom is gone but she continues to encourage me. I’m still here, we’re still here. We have a chance today, tomorrow, and the next day to give our kids the encouragement they need to achieve their dreams. They run circles around us some days…but if they want to try to run to the moon then for goodness sake let’s go ahead and run with them.