The Ultimate Legacy
With today’s knowledge of investment portfolios, living trusts, C.D.’s and various properties, attention is focused on a monetary or tangible inheritance to leave our children. Though this is a generous gesture, there is another more valuable commodity that, most likely, could enrich the lives of our offspring. It’s not as positive as a rare antique or as visible as prime real estate. Rather these priceless entities are seeds of recollection that have been planted throughout the years and bloom for a lifetime. We scatter and sow these granules during contact with our kids, friends and relatives. They are nurtured during the times we shared, cherished through the memories they made, revered by the love they created and passed on. These remembrances become the silent catalyst of our busy existence; the anchor in our reason for being. Even William Wordsworth, in his Ode on Intimations of Immortality wrote, “…rather, find strength in what remains behind.”
In the complex world of child-rearing, my family of eight children provided both happiness and hard work. Each day had its upside and down. But, if it hadn’t been for the times made special by cooperation and communication, all those years might have produced memory failure. Hours shared doing repetitive tasks, dinner conversations, bedtime stories, driving to and from anywhere created chances for honest, unconditional, bonding experiences. Together we usually found solutions for troubling problems, shopped for a special outfit, painted a room, baked dozens of cookies, folded mountains of laundry and shared significant or secret moments frozen in time. How many of our stories begin with, “Remember when we…?” How precious the memories. How deep the smile. Recreation provided great indoor and outdoor environments for quality participation. Projects, games, adventures and leisurely afternoons were the melting pot for remembrances. Vacations encouraged possibilities for meaningful one-on-one dialogue. Viewing a spectacular sunset from a fishing boat, walking as a group down a quaint village street or dreaming around a family campfire indulged us in valuable opportunities for discussions. Togetherness became honesty at its peak.
Sharing close feelings with elderly relatives or acquaintances are also vital to family history. A gift of yourself can be a most cherished remembrance. Take them to lunch at their favorite restaurant, escort them to their kind of play, join them on an exciting bus tour, play checkers or wind yarn during your next visit. These valuable snippets of time can bloom into beautiful recollections. Chapters of these favorite stories fill the empty pages of the golden years and carry more significance than the ritual of shopping for the perfect present. Videos of today are the eyes of the future. It’s preservation of family life handed down to our descendants along with photographs or souvenirs. These hybrid remembrances grow into a harvest of our lives and spawn anecdotes especially for our grandchildren. They are God’s seedlings of opportunities. Special times with grandkids offer individual and cherished moments. When a familial visit is convenient, unlimited possibilities await your discovery. Maybe a road trip to a local zoo, museum, playground or park and topped off with ice cream treats will enhance everyone’s memory of this special outing. Sometimes, just talking on the front porch can close the generation gap. Stories, silly songs, nostalgia and bits of history awaken the curious and sharing becomes natural. If long distance is a factor, telephone or email will await your arranged visit.
The harvest of our future depends on what is planted today. All it takes is a little time, love and ambition to create future dialog with members of our families. Whether our interaction is spoken through smiles or shared, subtle hugs, we produce tangible pleasure to those who are privy to our sincere and private emotions. By honestly sharing ourselves in words and actions, we are able to create the greatest legacy of all. Memories.
I'm a retired Sun Newspaper typist. I've been writing freelance articles for the past twenty five years. Some of them are personal experiences having to do with my family of eight children and a total of twenty grandchildren. They keep me busy with a variety of subject matter.