Will you remember how we all snuggled on the couch and watched WipeOut, and made each other laugh until it almost got obnoxious?

Will you remember how you would ask me to hold you, even though you are all gangly limbs and wiggly bottoms and giant head that barely fits against my chest anymore?  And how I would do it anyway, and even though it was like rocking an octopus in my arms, it was still as sweet as when you actually fit in my lap.

Will you remember daddy’s patient cooking lessons?  How he let you sit on the counter to stir the batter before eventually graduating you knife handling skills?  Will you be able to recall the smell of the corn bread baking that you made together, from scratch?

When you are grown, and have your own children, will you continue the tradition of Sunday morning pancakes shaped like snowmen, cats or penguins?  Will you tell your kids how your daddy made them for you?

Will you feel comforted by memories of mommy singing lullaby every single night?  Will you smile when you think of how even when mommy was tired and cranky, all you had to do is say “please?” and I would lie down next to you and croak out the same song you’d heard a thousand nights before?

Will these memories manage to outshine others?  Will you think back to your childhood and feel happy?  Or will you struggle to pull these memories up from beneath the ones of these recent years?  These crazy days full of doubt, stress and near-constant anger and yelling.  I ask because today was a good day.  A very good day.  You swam and played and sang and danced.  You got a lot of love and attention from daddy.  You got a surprising amount of patience and tolerance from mommy.  And these are the days from which I want the fabric of your memories to be woven.  I only wish there were more like them.

Will you forgive me for worrying more about the dirty clothes on the floor than in how excited you are to have a new friend over?  Will you someday get your wish that mommy would stop worrying about how nice the yard looked and how clean the floors are and just stop and truly listen to your endless stories or watch your latest dance routine?  Will you be able to forget about how I got easily frustrated and angry about things that weren’t even your fault and took it out on you?  Will you forgive daddy for having to work so much, missing out on things that were important to you?  Will you understand that he truly hated having to do that?  That this crazy schedule and frantic phone calls and trips to Charlotte and whispered “discussions” with mommy were all so we could someday achieve our dream for ourselves, for you girls?  That even though we seem so tense and angry lately, it has nothing to do with you?  Will you be strong enough to realize that, and forgive us for not making it abundantly clear?  Will you trust the memory of us hugging you more than we yelled at you?

At the end of the day, when the darkness fills the space that had just been host to another screaming match over your messy room, will you forgive me once I gather you up in my arms?  Will that somehow melt the ugly memories and cement the good ones in your mind?  Can you then accept my lullaby and believe only those last words you hear before you drift off to sleep:

I love you.  I love you to the moon and back.

When my voice itself becomes nothing but a memory to you, will those be the words you remember?

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