A few days ago, I drove by my grandfather’s old house. He passed away quite a while ago and another family member lives there now. But the house made me think of him. I smiled over specific memories: the way you could always hear him coming because he whistled when he walked, how he always fall asleep when he sat on the couch too long. I also remember more important things, like his presence at every milestone in my life—from the good citizen’s awards ceremony to my college graduation across country. He stated as fact, with casual frequency, that his grandchildren were brilliant, creative, and talented.
I tell you these things not to brag on someone I love, but to illustrate a point. All of the things that come to mind are my grandfather’s legacy. He never baked a pie using cut-outs of our hands as the topper. He never whittled me a toy train. There are any number of things that many grandparents do that he never even contemplated. But, in the end, he was there and he loved us. That’s what I remember and that’s what I take with me through life now that he’s gone. When you think about the important people from your childhood, what is it that you remember? What is their legacy?
For parents, this time of year can be brutal. Our TO DO lists are overflowing with commitments: carpools, back to school nights, sports practices, holiday preparations, performances, and so on. We finish the day with a mountain of “should haves”— all the balls you dropped in the daily juggle,
I challenge you to compare your list of “should haves” to the memories you have of a special person from your past. How many of the tasks you didn’t get done factored into your loved one’s legacy?
In the rush and chaos of life, take time to think about your priorities, and all the things you give your family. When your kids get older, they aren’t going to remember if yesterday’s sandwich was shaped like a heart or, or the cupcakes you brought to school were homemade. Here’s the bottom line: if you show up and you love your kids, that’s what they will remember.
Your legacy lies in the time you spend and the love you show. Forgive yourself the rest!