Defining My Legacy

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Defining my legacy is not fun. It’s not like a life list where you spell out concrete things you want to accomplish – write a book, visit Spain, learn a foreign language, etc. Concrete – easy. Emotion-y, heart stuff – a bit tougher (surprising for me seeing as in all else in life it’s the other way around).

Like my original inspiration suggested, I started at the end. But not my end but the inevitable. One day I will be widowed of my parents (why isn’t there a word for that? like those espoused are the only ones who deserve a word for when death parts them..hmph…); what legacy will they have left me with? This is what I know ~

*Original image by Adreanna Moya Photography via Flikr.

~I know my childhood was filled with magic…magic sprinkled throughout my days and into my soul. I’m a believer because of it. Whether it was the lighting of a candle or the whispered mumble of a healing prayer when I was sick or a shower of holy water and flower petals – my parents believe; they have faith. They have respect for the unseen.

~I know each moment is what I make it. No matter the situation, my attitude, my approach sets the tone. Bankruptcy, death, closing a business, retirement, sending a child away to school, losing a child – realities of my grandpa’s life but the man won’t be defeated. This life is a blessing; there’s no time for moping, grab the reigns. As Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work.”

~I know there is always a place to call home. My family is not the most affectionate or the most outwardly emotional. The year I left for college, my grandfather took me aside and told me no matter what, I could always come home (hug, pat on the back, no tears) but it is a memory that’s wrapped itself around my heart.  I realized then he’d been busy being a parent all those years and was then ready to be my friend. Home is where your heart has it’s roots; my heart, my roots are of him.

~I know my family planted seeds of confidence and resilience and pride and a sense of self. I can’t pinpoint how exactly they did it but it’s this shield of armor I’ve got. It can’t be torn down. It can’t be broken. Sometimes I quiver a little but only for a blink just to emerge better, stronger, clearer. It’s what I’m most grateful for.

I hold these lessons, these memories dear. They’re what I’m made of.

What memories and feelings do I want to leave in the hearts of my children, with their senses, for their children and their children?

~I want to leave the sound of pages in books, moments reading on my lap, memories of roaming aisles upon aisles of books, a big giant soft spot for words and writing and learning.

~I want to leave a deep lovelustparty for being a woman, the unmistakable scent of vanilla and sweets and blackberry and sun and sea, mascara and blow drying lessons, a heart to embrace the world, a mother’s love, ball gown nights and flip flop days.

~I want to leave a feeling of having been heard, listened to, seen.

~I want to leave the taste of a healing kitchen, of sweets that cured heartbreak, of teas and breads and cookies and pies that mend, of deliciousness that makes you float.

~I want to leave confidence and an inner compass and a knowing of oneself,  curiosity about oneself, a belief in oneself, trust in oneself, a head held high with a steady, fierce gaze.

~I want to leave possibility, dream it then do it then live it, start again.

~I want to leave a generous heart, giving, sharing, appreciating, enriching.

~I want to leave a little magic, oils and candles and rituals and little prayers.

It’s overwhelming. Pondering these things and writing them down and especially reading them aloud. Then thinking of instilling in them all I’ve been gifted with from my own family. Whoa, the responsibility. Whoa. But…

It’s about defining and doing, everyday, little by little.

When you do something like this, it puts you face to face with the best and worst parts of yourself and the parts of yourself you’re still creating. I came face to face with the fact I don’t want my daughters to think of me and say, “She was bossy and loved being in control. No fun.” Not the warm and fuzzy I want to leave behind. I also don’t want them to say, “If only she’d done the things she dreamed of.” Um, no. Not it.

I also realize I have to let go of the things I will never be. My husband is silly and goofy and slapstick funny. I am none of those things…no, really, not a drop of silly, goofy, slapstickiness in me. Outdoorsy, camping lady? Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah right. Never. These are things not in my make up; I can’t fake them. I’m open to them but it’s not ever, ever, ever going to be my thang.

*Image by Andreanna Moya Photogrphy via Flikr.


That’s what I’d call these kinds of exercises – life listing, legacy -ing, life manifesto-ing. Direction-ifying, yes? Yessir.

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