Will They Really Remember?

I raised my child as a single parent. I worked hard to give my child what they needed, and a lot of what they wanted. This included taking my child to the zoo, to museums, to theme parks, to tour other nearby cities, and to many other fun places/activities. Doing this wasn’t always easy to manage, but I did it to ensure my child had experiences I only dreamed of having as a child myself. Fast forward to the present day, and my child and I are estranged. (I could share my version of why I think we don’t speak, but this article isn’t about that. Maybe I will write something about this topic later…)

Often, I will scroll through social media, and I see parents posting variations of these words: “Kids remember what you did for them.” As I mentioned above, I did my best to ensure my child not only felt loved but felt knowledgeable about different things. Every fun activity I planned was to encourage my child to learn about the world beyond our family and household. Also, as I mentioned before, I did these things because I wanted to ensure my child experienced a different childhood than the one I had. From birth to about the age of twelve, I believe my child actually felt the love I expressed in the things I did for them. Once the teens hit, my child was all about me expressing my love in other ways, like buying video games.

Will They Really Remember?

It has been about eight years since my child and I have spoken. I often wonder what my child remembers about their childhood. Do they remember the many fun times we had? Do they remember how mom didn’t buy new clothes so they could have nice clothes and shoes to wear for school? Do they remember how mom was too tired at the end of the workday, but still played Legos with them or read them a book or played one more round of Chutes and Ladders with them? Or do they only remember what led up to our estrangement?

I truly hope I someday get to know the answer to this question. Good, bad, or ugly, I will listen to my child’s perspective and try to avoid convincing them to think otherwise. The truth is, I am not perfect. I know I made many mistakes as a single parent and as a human being. Do I think the mistakes I made warrant not speaking to me? Of course not.

But again, that’s my perspective. It is important for me to remember my child is a different individual with a different way of thinking.

The point of my story: parents, please don’t count on your child remembering everything you have done for them. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us choose to focus on the negative, rather than the positive. We shouldn’t fault our children for doing the same. However, if you can lie your head down at night, knowing you did your absolute best as a parent and as a human being, then I pray you are able to rest in your truth.

No one else may believe it, but I do.