Legacy | The Speckled Goat: Legacy



I'm sitting in my chair as I write this.

Koben is sleeping, Evert is outside with Trevor, off doing some serious work, no doubt. Getting the job done, as Evert likes to say.

The past two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, and I'm enjoying this quiet. The sunshine, the coffee, the blanket over my lap.

And I'm thinking about legacy.

On Thursday, I laid a blanket over my grandmother's casket during her funeral mass.

My cousin and I stood next to one another and after the blanket was spread, we both smoothed it out in just a few short, intentional brushes. I didn't even realize that I was doing it until I noticed that my cousin was doing the same thing, and I remembered. I remembered all the hundreds of times I'd seen Grandma do that exact same motion, smoothing out the tablecloth before a meal, before a snack, before cookies and coffee, before a game of Scrabble that I would always lose and she would always win.

Such a small thing.

And yet here we were, my cousin and I, smoothing out the blanket like Grandma would.

I wonder what other tiny bits of her I've picked up over the years - what small habits I've acquired or sayings I use.

And I think also about my boys.

This week, they spent hours and hours in their car seats, and then their busy little bodies were asked to sleep in a new (and very exciting) place. They saw so many people, so many new things, and I asked them to be still and quiet, even though they were overstimulated and overtired. And then after all that, they got back in those car seats again for hours and hours. And all in all, they did amazingly well. They had a wonderful time and really enjoyed the majority of the trip. They were loved on and cared for by our relatives and friends. And yes, there were some not-so-great moments, and Evert chose disobedience sometimes, and Koben was so tired of being confined to his car seat and screamed a bit on the drive home.

But through the eyes of the people who love them and don't get to see them often enough, I noticed things I often take for granted. Like how Evert crouches down and makes eye contact when he's talking to pets. Or how he says thank you almost every time someone gives him something. How he takes my face in both hands when he gives me a kiss, just like I do when I kiss him. And even Koben, even though he's still so little, had smiles and giggles to share.

And as I look out the window, I see Evert playing with rocks outside, and he stops for a moment to gather the rocks together with both hands, sweeping them into a pile like I do with crumbs on a table.

How much of the small things that we do - the small things that they see from their grandparents or aunts and uncles or friends - how much of that will become unconscious habits to them? What will rub off on them?

And maybe the things that have the biggest impacts aren't the things we expect. Maybe the real messages of our lives aren't found primarily in the things that will be written in our obituaries, but in the things that can't really be said. 

I could write so many words about who my grandmother was and how she impacted my life, her warm smile and her joy in friendly competition and her service and her love. How her arms were strong for her family and she served them with joy and excellence and lots and lots of food all her life.

But really, so much of who she was to me can be summed up in just one action.

Intentionally, quickly smoothing out the tablecloth.

That's her. One simple movement-- to me, that's my grandma.

And that one motion, that little habit, has found it's way into my daily life and my daily habits, too.

Maybe that's what legacy is. The small things that make up the essence of a person, the things that they do that reveal who they are and what they care about. And those small things become part of the people who love them.

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1 comment :

  1. And those small actions are the legacy we pass on to our children, for better or for worse. Your grandmother's legacy was obviously one for the "better"!! How many unconscious actions are we passing on to our children and grandchildren? Are they for better or for worse? Definitely something to think about!