This story is brought to you by Tammy Rix
When I was approached to write an article regarding leaving a legacy for your grandchildren I thought “Oh sure! No problem!” Then I began to research articles, thinking long and hard about how I would go about it. Ultimately, I had nothing that really meant anything to me and was hesitant to begin writing. When I was reminded again of the article I once again began researching, but then stopped. I stopped to think about what it meant to leave a legacy and what it meant to me. It was then that I realized I was making this entirely too difficult.
When we become parents, we want the very best for our children. We want them to be safe, healthy, respectful, love others, have a great education and then repeat that same process with their own children. Being a grandparent is no different, except maybe you want a little more. You want a little more protection, more learning and knowledge, and more love. It’s all an extension of your children really. They love you and their children love you. So, what would I ultimately want to leave as a legacy? “Legacy” can be interpreted several ways. To me, it’s simple.
Do I want to leave material items?
It’s great to be able to leave something monetary in hopes of making life a little easier on your children and grandchildren. But let’s be honest. Not everyone is in a position where they can leave a large sum of money behind. For some, just getting the bills paid can be a battle. Or what if it’s leaving the few cherished items you may have, in hopes they love them as much as you did? Honestly, that antique tea set you proudly display may not be their cup of tea and ultimately finds its way to your granddaughter’s playhouse with stuffed teddy bears and baby dolls sipping delicious nothingness from chipped cups while donning your grandmother’s brooch and Sunday hat.
How about wisdom and learning?
I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two in my 55 years of life. What with growing up with ten brothers, being married for 35 years and having raised three children, I reserve the right to consider myself somewhat of an expert. But why is it that suddenly my children are making sure I know what to do when they leave my grandchild with me? I mean I raised three kids for crying out loud! I think I know what I’m doing! What do you mean they can’t sleep on their tummy? Why can’t they have milk? Can’t I just rock him to sleep instead of making him lay down and cry? Of course, we can share with them what we have learned, along with the nuggets of wisdom our parents taught us, and their parents taught them. Hopefully there will be some great pieces of knowledge we pass on. But let’s not forget that times change. We can’t forget to be open to letting our children teach us the “new” way sometimes. Heck, my grandson knows more about getting the TV on the right settings than I do! And I won’t even mention his smart phone skills.
Could we leave them encouragement?
Of course. We can teach our children and grandchildren to believe in themselves, but we must also teach them to avoid negative people that will do everything in their power to discourage them. The best we can do is always support them, encourage them to pursue their dreams and do what is right. The rest is up to them.
So, what, you ask, is it I believe we can leave that would make the most impact?
The love of a family that supports them, laughs with them, makes memories with them, believes in them and will stand by their side no matter what. It’s not just any love, it’s unconditional love. The kind of love that gets up with you in the middle of the night when they are sick, whether they are 2 years old or 22.
Love that says it’s okay when they mess up. Love that hurts your heart more than they will ever understand when they are hurting and holding them as long as it takes to ease the pain.
The kind of love that spreads a blanket out on the living room floor to have a “picnic” and watch a movie when it’s raining outside or sit out in hot weather to watch them play ball or cooking three different meals to make sure everyone gets something they like. It’s making everyone’s favorite dessert at Thanksgiving and seeing how happy they are to see it still has a spot on the menu.
It’s the kind of love that when they leave, you can’t wait for them to come back but more importantly, THEY want to come back. The love of seeing your grandchild reach out to you or run to you when they get out of the car. Rocking them to sleep. Swinging on the back-porch swing eating ice cream. And hearing the words “I love you Mom” and “I love you Meemaw”. Those are the things I will remember. Those are things THEY will remember.
Never forget; make the time for those you love, create wonderful memories and above everything else, love and cherish each moment together as if it were your last.
THAT is my legacy.