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

Proverbs 22:6

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)  

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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.  


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The legacy I want to leave my children is to Trust in God even when the answer is no. To have this infectious and inspiring kind of Hope in Jesus because of what He has already done. If I died today the ONE thing I would want my children to do is cling to God and His promises and to live in a way that shines His love always.
— Emily Hutchinson

I want a legacy of love. I want my children to feel, to their core, that they are loved and treasured and that they matter. Truly, what mother doesn’t want their child to feel that the space they occupy in the world is their own ? I want them to love others-especially those who don’t, or can’t or won’t love themselves. The world can be hard and my children are blessed and I want them to recognize their responsibility to love others as they themselves have been loved. I want my children to see love in ALL forms and respect it, honor it and stand up for it. I want my children to know that my legacy of love, began with the Father who loved us first, and best, and that everything on this earth pales in comparison.
— Elizabeth Rampson
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My boys see my love for volunteering, whether it be for school, sports or at our church. They see that I do it for others and not because I get something in return. They are learning how to put others first and give when there is nothing to gain from except to help others. A quote that has stuck with me is “Your children will become who you are; so be who you want them to be”. Rings true to how I want to leave a legacy to my children.
— Shelley Kilgore

When I think of legacy, I think of an imprint. When I think of what kind of imprint I’m gonna leave on them, the first thing that comes to mind is relationship. My prayer and hope is to invest so much into our relationships that when I’m gone, it won’t be about what I said or did but how I made them feel.
— Sheena Schwandt
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The legacy I want to leave to our five kids is a lasting impression that focuses on love, respect, courtesy, kindness, and empathy. As a full time working mother, I strive to give our kids the best childhood full of lasting positive memories. I want our kids to know how hard we worked for our family and to show them I made time for them even though I was exhausted. I want them to see how I love their father and how we worked on falling more in love everyday. How everyday I showed them love in every way possible. How I didn’t know who I was until I became their mother and how it changed my world.
— Nikki Tesch

I think leaving a legacy for my children means providing them a childhood that builds on the foundation of security in love and care. It’s my hope that I will instill confidence in them, to not be restricted by fear or insecurity or the responsibilities that will come with adulthood, but rather know the freedom to love. To feel safe, secure and confident which in turn would allow them the space to grow into the person God has designed them to be. I fiercely love my children so that they will never question how truly loved and miraculous they are to me. I hope I inspire them, build their confidence in their own uniqueness, foster their passions, teach them morals, ethics, compassion, generosity, the value of hard work and a dollar, and a faith that is solid to their core. And I hope most of all that they see how truly important these qualities are to me, and I pray that my legacy is to be known and to inspire my children and others for generations. That the life I live and the lives I impact are changed for the positive from knowing me.
— Katie Hansen

photo by Jasmine Klein Photography

photo by Jasmine Klein Photography

As a mother of two inquisitive little girls who see the world as a place to wander and experience, I hope my legacy now and always will be to explore without abandon. I want them to design a life that allows them to crave, organize and discover the virtues of travel. There is so much beyond our tiny scope that must be seen, felt and enjoyed in person. I also hope they follow my lead to be expressive, speak their mind, ask a million questions and to go for what they want without questioning their validity. And finally, I want them to see their mother as a creative, a constant work-in-progress who significantly values education, achievement and self-satisfaction. I hope they realize you can do literally anything you want - and if you love it enough, success, happiness and everything else will follow suit.
— Portia Smith

Dear Boys, as I have raised you so far and learned more from you then I could ever imagine, like 3 boys with 3 different personalities and perspectives, is a life lesson in itself. Remember that there is always learning, learn from the spirit, learn from others, especially from your triumphs and defeats. Also, my hope is you treat others the way you want to be treated. Love others through compassionate service and acceptance because how you treat others and what you think of others, really says more about who you are. And you are an amazing child of God, Capable of anything you are willing to put your whole heart into. Because your only obstacle is you, be a warrior of wonder and creativity to go beyond your immediate bubble, to live an amazing life. I love you.
— Nasca Richey
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photo by Jenna Lynn Photography

photo by Jenna Lynn Photography

For my children my legacy is leading them down a path to faith. I want to show them unwavering faith in God and his promises leads us to path of love, joy, peace, perseverance through struggle, and contentment in any circumstance. I hope that they will strive for faith and strength in Jesus and pass it on to their children, just like my parents passed onto me. I am so thankful for it being instilled in me and think of no better way to stay with them forever then to share with them the gift of eternity with Christ.
— Carleeh Mulholland

The legacy I hope to leave to my children is a full understanding that they are citizens of the world. There is no “us” and “them”, we are one world, and we should embrace each other with love and open arms.
— Sydney Mintle

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To me, leaving a legacy for my children is more about teaching them something they will carry on in their heart forever and pass along to someone else who will then share it with another and so on. It is teaching my children how to love Jesus, how to serve His people unconditionally and how to love His Church like nothing else matters. It is helping them support the people around them and encouraging them to find causes they believe in. It’s helping them know how to simply have fun, to laugh often even if it’s at themselves. It is showing them how to work hard, to fight for something that matters to them yet also how to be teachable, to admit when they’re wrong and know how to say ‘I am sorry’. It is showing them that no matter the situation they can choose to find JOY. It is helping them become leaders who influence others. It is showing them what it means to bless others and live with an open hand. Understanding that as they bless they, too, will be blessed. It’s allowing them to pursue their passions even when they aren’t mine and reminding them to choose forgiveness, to always see the best in others no matter our differences. If I can leave this kind of mark in my children, then my legacy is complete. My job is done because just like my mother, I have helped them draw closer to God and have helped them find their way so when they grow old they, too, can do the same for someone else.
— Kat Padilla

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.        

My sincerest gratitude to my beautiful mom friends who shared their hearts in this post.  I am so blessed by you.

Discovery Park Photos of Melody and daughters Holland & Savannah by Jenna Lynn Photography

Melody's jumpsuit by Rollick

Makeup by Yelena of MakeupYouBeautiful