Tuesday, April 1, 2014

legacy


There are things within us, carefully written in sharpie on the strands of our DNA. Scientists know how it works and I count it as miraculous God magic. That is nature.

When Isaac was a baby, he was obsessed with my ear. If he was being held, carried, or nursed, he was rubbing my ear. He also played with his own ear a lot, rubbing it back and forth. When his brother and sister were born, he would rub their ears and tell Jim and I that baby ears were his favorite because they were the softest.

When I was a baby and little girl, I would suck my thumb while rubbing my eyelashes with my index finger, using my other index finger to play with my ear.

When my grandpa was a little boy, he would play with his ear while going to sleep.

Isaac never saw me rub my ear and I never knew my grandpa rubbed his ear until he told me after seeing Isaac do it. It was something within us. This astounds me; the fact that ear rubbing is somehow hidden somewhere in our DNA.

I am intrigued by all of this, the things that lie within us and tie us together as family. How the life we live is, in some part, affected by things we have no knowledge of.
photo courtesy of Jayne Wirebaugh
Those are the things we don't know about. But there are plenty of things we pass along because we see it and hear it and smell it and experience it on a day-to-day basis. This is nurture.

People talk and my dad will latch on to a phrase and sing a random song with that phrase in it. My brother and I discovered that both of us do this multiple times every single day. Say the words "on fire" and you can be sure I'm belting out a little "This Girl is on Fire." I cannot help myself; I just have to. Tonight we were talking about walking and Isaac started singing "Walk Like an Egyptian." I can't really tell you how proud I was in that moment.

Another time I made a pot of soup and forgot to take the bay leaf out. One of the kids found it and asked what it was. I told them it was a bay leaf and whoever finds it has good luck for the day. Now I can never take the bay leaf out of the soup because everyone wants to find it. Instant tradition. Instant piece in the quilt of our life together.
photo courtesy of Jayne Wirebaugh
Those are silly examples, of course. But there is the bigger question of legacy. What do we want to pass on to the people we love? What has been passed down to us? It is more than our eye color and shoe size and nose shape. It's the things in our souls that make us uniquely us.

I hope my kids love to read and remain curious all their live long days. I hope they look for the best in people and share their best with others. I hope they seek justice and show love. I hope they laugh and cry and feel all of life, embracing the hurt for the lessons learned. I hope they err on the side of love and forgive the hurts within them so healing can occur. I hope they dream big dreams and then have the guts to make them happen. I hope they feel God's presence and love in their lives. I hope they always know my home and my arms are here to catch them when life derails.

I hope these are things I model most parts of most days. Well, always would be great, but also unreachable, so I'll aim for most parts of most days.

I want so much for them. I mostly want them to become fully them. The fullest version of themselves they can possible be. That what God placed within them, the strands of DNA pieced together just special for Isaac, Audrey, Elliot, and Asher, would mingle with the silly family traditions, the time spent in the woods and on the mountains, the laughs shared over a game, and the stories told over dinner and would shine a beautiful and unique light on this world.

I want them to show up. I want them to be all in. I want them to get off of the sidelines and join in the wild game of life from the tips of their toes to the ends of their noses.
4 generations of women

I have chosen Abraham, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice.  Genesis 18:19

"If we ever leave a legacy it's that we loved each other well." Indigo Girls

What about you? What have you learned from your family? And what do you hope to pass down?

1 comment:

  1. I have learned that love conquers all. Even in the depths of despair and depression - love is there, holding out its arms to enfold us, cradle us, and sustain us. God is love and He will never let go. I hope to pass down to my son and grandchildren that no matter what, I will be there holding out my arms to enfold them, cradle them, and sustain them as God has done for me - as my parents did before me.

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