A Mother's Legacy
Start children off on the way they should go and even when they are old they will not turn from it
I was driving to a birthday party for my 11 year old daughter's friend. We were already about 10 minutes late (typical) and I was desperately trying to keep my composure while whispering sweet dammits under my breath. I knew what was coming. And then... there it was.... "Mom? You're lost, aren't you?" Followed by the 5 year old shaming me from her car seat with her verbal jabs, yelling "Mom! You get lost ALLLLLLL the time!" Sadly, she was an accurate tiny critic. "This is the legacy I am leaving my kids", I thought. At my funeral, they will recall how geographically challenged I was. The crowd will roar in agreeable laughter at how 100% true it is. But in this moment, where I was once again angry with myself for taking a wrong turn even when my friendly navigation lady gave me proper instruction, I owned it. I laughed, I sighed, I made a u-turn and looked at the girls through my mirror and said "Yes, I am lost, AGAIN, but we're fine, I'll get us there eventually!" My tiny critic continued her banter, while the oldest was in NO mood for jokes.
That got me thinking. Aside from the fact that my directionally challenged character will undoubtedly be talked about for years past my last days, I wonder what legacy I will leave with my children.
I consistently have "WWMD" moments - wondering how my mom would have reacted, what words she would use to comfort, encourage or motivate me. More and more, I find myself steering my actions and choosing my words to be more like my mother's. Her gentleness and grace is something to be honored and her steadfast, unwavering faith has taught me to lean on Him for all things. Whether she knows this or not, she runs through my mind daily as the voice in my head and heart telling me I am a gift and am doing this adult thing alright. (PS: I love you mom)
I want my circle to say I was their champion. Their cheerleader and support system. That I had their best interest in mind at all times. And I was honest. Oh man, I want them to believe I was honest. And genuine. I want them to be confident that how they spent their time and their energy on me was reciprocated. But in the same way, I hope this rings true for my children. A stem of me IS my children. They are my physical legacy. What I teach them each day is an extension of how I want to carry on my legacy, and in all honesty - it sometimes feels overwhelmingly heavy. Making each of my words and actions that much more crucial. If my hope for them is that they are confident and have inner success with who they become, regardless of financial status, body shape and appearance or education, than it is my responsibility to exude the same. The gifts God gave me and who He created me to be were designed specifically with purpose.
I began asking a few of my mama friends if they had ever thought about what their legacy may be or what they'd like it to be. What I received in return from these INCREDIBLE women were words of inspiration, hope, faith, and fiery determination to raise up the strongest, brightest, most loving humans this world will ever experience. With each message, there was a common thread of LOVE. Deep, rich, unshakable LOVE. And with each message I read, my eyes filled up more and more and overflowed with a yearning desire to cheer on these mothers! Because their words are so precious and encouraging, I needed to share them with the world.
Our children watch us and listen to our words, even when we don't think they are. They study our actions and observe our choices and try to reason with our more than occasional "no". Through their eyes, we are building our legacy each and every day. Of course we want the best this world can provide for our children, and to teach them how to be (insert all of the buzz words on how to be a good human) humans. The amazing thing is... we 100% own this opportunity to build, to teach, to strengthen, support, encourage, and provide. Which also means we own the responsibility to lead by example so our legacy can be put to life.
Our legacy will be apparent long after we're gone, when our children are grown. It will be seen in their relationships, their work, and their faith. Do I have a lot of work to do to ensure I leave this legacy for my children? You bet I do! I will not leave this earth solely known for being the woman who was late and lost everywhere she went. I look at my daughter's every day and think "am I doing this right?" But in the small moments when they make a good choice, realize consequences, help someone who is hurt, ask God for forgiveness or pray out loud for his help....or simply say "I love you", I know that I am, in fact, doing it right.
To all my mama's, if you need to hear it today, YOU. ARE. AN. AMAZING. MOTHER. Whatever your legacy is that you leave, it will be an extension of who you are and will be seen in your children. It will be remarkable and will serve a special place on this earth.