I’ve been pondering the concept of legacy a lot lately. Perhaps because I just had my second daughter-and I’m overly intentional about the words that come out of my mouth towards and about them. I want every day, every moment, to be wrapped around intention because, truth is, girls still need to hear that they can and should do the hard and holy things in the world.
There’s another side to legacy that drives me. My mom. She is not my hero. No, the complete opposite. Her life was an example of everything I never want to be-selfish, addict, abusive, promiscuous…lost. My birth mom raised me to fear the world, fear her hand, fear her words. She made me believe my worth is in my sexuality and I’m only as good as the attention I received from guys. To go to college, to have a life long spouse, to do better for myself, well, this was selfish and wrong and I obviously thought I was better than everyone for doing so.
I moved out when I was sixteen. With a black-eye and a battered heart, I moved in with my now family. Three years later I graduated college. Six years later I met a man that is good, and stable, and strong and thinks I’m lovely and smart and worth loving because, I just am. Nine months later we welcomed our first little girl, and now we are a tribe of seven (we picked up three more kids along the way). My husband has never laid a harmful hand on me or raised his voice-like my birth mom promised the man I was bound to marry would.
So, growing up with such volatile words and fists constantly being thrown my way, I know the affect of words. Because of that broken record of her voice, I let opportunities and chances pass by out of fear of failure, or, worse, becoming someone just like her.
I look at my two girls, one just over one and another just three months young, and I see their little personalities and strengths start to bloom-one is strong and fearless, trying to pick up bees (I’m serious) and the other is a softer kind of strong. T, our three month old, is tender and sensitive and doesn’t like to be messed with but my, oh my, does she love to stare at smiling faces. I see them. I see people within them, and I want to nurture that which I see.
The legacy my mother left me was one of injure-I was promised failure and abuse and heartache. I get to rewrite the course for my kids. I called a halt to that legacy and yelled out, with my life, No (more accurately, hell no), and started a new route. The legacy I leave for my daughters is one of art and music and you cans because I did. I took leaps and pursued dreams, and did they always succeed? No. But I tried and they will too. They may be babies, but the words I speak to them, the words I speak over them today will follow them through high school, through their twenties and thirties, and through their own journey as a wife, mother, friend, sister. This is the legacy I get to be a part of.
Starting a new year and all of its resolutions is a good thing. It’s good to have short term goals in mind-I want to go to yoga more regularly, start waking up at 4am (because…babies) to get some alone time, and to date my husband more regularly. I want to land three more clients by the end of each month and write a book proposal and blog for my heart more regularly. These are all really good things and goals to have. But, my biggest goal this year is to keep the end in mind-what is my end goal? To look back in fifty years and know that I left a legacy for those watching to enjoy and learn from.