In response to my previous poem: https://sarahleastories.com/2017/11/24/writers-digest-november-poem-a-day-2017-challenge-24-theme-how-ill-be-remembered/
How I Will Remember Them
I will always remember my paternal grandmother as a woman who epitomized grit and femininity–all while being a stay-at-home mom. I will remember her for saying (about her son, my uncle Bill), “If you’re not grinning like a jackass, he thinks you’re mad.” I will remember her for the way she’d say, “Now Cher—Bran—Sarah,” finally getting to my name (Cher and Bran being my aunt Cheryll and Cousin Brandi).
I will always remember my parents as always being proud of me. To me, a parent’s pride is different than a husband’s—it’s personal, for you are a part of them. We worry away our childhoods trying to make our parents proud (even though they, in turn, often embarrass us). I will always remember how my mom worried, which made me feel smothered. Now, with a daughter of my own, I understand.
I will remember my brother as a gifted musician who should never have hid his talent under a bushel.
I will always remember my peers in high school as smaller than they seemed all those years ago. High school isn’t the real world, though we never figure that out until it’s a long ago memory.
I will remember my Mormon acquaintances as changeless—kind of Godlike. My life, in contrast, has looked like an erratic heartbeat, theirs, a flat line, marked only by their first (and only marriages) and the births of their children. I don’t think I’ll ever know a life like theirs, so structured in religion, so unstructured with so many children.
My first real boyfriend: You were proof that chemistry could thrive without love or friendship. You showed me that the right person isn’t just about how you feel about them, but how they make you feel about yourself.
My second boyfriend: You were a rebound romance, doomed to fail because you weren’t what I thought I wanted. Now I know you were so much more than I could have ever dreamed.
My third boyfriend: You showed me how passion that’s all-consuming can almost destroy a person.
My husband, you have been as patient with me as I have been with you. For better or worse, our marriage is what it is. Like God, you have been right there with me through the best and the worst; I am patiently waiting for the better. You haven’t given me the best, but you’ve helped me become my best.
Hannah, my only begotten thus far, you have been the sun, the moon, and the stars—every kind of Mormon Heaven, every degree of glory. But I realized not long after you were born that “I Love Lucy” did not prepare me for parenthood. There was no Mrs. Trumble at the ready and in this world, I could never turn you loose to play elsewhere. But I am better than what I was because of your very existence. I say, I love my family as I love myself, but you are the only one I love even more than that.
My husband’s family, I was such an idealistic bride, hoping we could be friends like my mom and dad and aunt and uncle were when I was a little girl, but I know now that will never happen. The only connection we have is that you happen to be related to my husband. That alone doesn’t make you related to me.
And my friends, well, you know who you are, even as I am still getting to know who I am.