I have said things to many people in my life that I wish I could have taken back. I have said things that make me sad to think back on them. But, I also think about all the GOOD THINGS I have said to people in my lifetime and hope that all those good things are the ones they will remember me by… especially my kids! The article “What I Wish I’d Said” (below) in the December Parents magazine issue brought up all those words again.
I have had a heightened sense of this reality of “words” since my teens, a heightened sense that some of the most important words that I could say might only come out of my mouth ONCE to my kids (or loved ones) but it might stay with them forever. I’ve realized this ever since my grandmother died when I was 22. I loved her so much and even though I remember many fond memories of her… the smell of roses, dancing with her in the living room to the sounds of the Lawrence Welk show, etc. one of the biggest memories I have of her was when she told me that babies would die if they weren’t held or loved. See my grandmother was a pediatric nurse, and she actually helped birth both my sister and brother and some of my cousins and she LOVED babies! She was actually quoting a study they did many years ago in orphanages about the effects of no human contact on babies and it’s stayed with me my whole life! That one conversation I heard has given me more compassion and passion for infants, human touch to them and even still wanting to adopt (if I ever can) one day!
So when I read this article in the December Parents magazine edition it struck a chord because I have written both my boys letters to open when they are 18 in case I die before then. I wrote these letters a couple of times in my life, many years ago to my oldest in his photo albums and poetry books I made for him and lately when I suffered a double pulmonary embolism after the c-section with my youngest (which is actually a large contributor to sudden deaths of post-pregnancy women in our own country to this day!). I have both the boys letters and the books, cd’s and art I’ve made them in their hope chests for my legacy. I even went in and recorded the special songs I made for both of them while they were babies at the 50 year celebration at the Space Needle this summer “Put the Needle on the Record”. Actually all three of us went in and I sang them to them on the record… it was just another way I felt I could give back to them a sense of me and what I considered important when they are older and I am gone.
So what is your legacy to your children? Are you keeping their school art, their photos, their macaroni creations? Are you expanding that collection and recording certain moments (both bad and good) so that they know what you were thinking, feeling, doing at that time to help them in their adult lives know how to manuever life in a positive, loving and compassionate way? It’s never too late! Never too late to write those letters now while you are healthy, happy or have just lived through a terrible struggle.
It’s NEVER TOO LATE to leave your children your legacy. I do it still, everyday with every blog post I create. I say it’s never too late because that one word, that one sentence, that one photo, that one memory might be with them forever… help make it a great one about the good things in life and leave this existence knowing you will be in their hearts forever!