Friday, April 6, 2012

I'll leave a legacy

I have been thinking a lot about legacies lately, since Wednesday to be exact, and about how we will all leave one when we die. (Why the heavy thought process? My dear uncle, who has been battling with cancer, passed away at 5:20 pm on Wed April 4 and the legacy he left...well, I will get into that later.)

It doesn't matter what we do, good or bad, we will leave a legacy behind. Dictionary.com defines legacy, in part, as "anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor".

What will my legacy be? How will I live my life that my character, actions, courage, heart, or lack there of will be the memory, the character that my children, grandchildren know me as?

My grandfather has a legacy, as does my grandmother, of nobel character, strong work ethic and immense love...a legacy my children, who have never met them, have heard and learned through stories and memories from numerous family members.  My uncle, who just passed away, has left a legacy, to me, and I am certain others, of a man who, inspite of terrible odds, inspite of a death sentence being placed on his shoulders, never stopped fighting, never gave up his will to live and, while he still had the strength to do so, never quit working. He did not outwardly mope about his fate but grabbed hold of moments. He didn't say "I only have so long to live"; he simply grabbed hold of his family and lived - fishing, golfing, laughing, hugging, enjoying...

We live in a day and age where technology and self-importance takes precident over quality time, over relationships. We feel wo important hearing a notification come in that someone has responded to our senseless or silly facebook status, or alarming us to an email or text to the point where I see fathers and mothers interupt hugs or family dinners to check, with baited breath, that they are needed, important or noticed - all while dismissing the one on their lap, at their side, or their dinner table who thinks they are all those things and more.

Will my children remember me as someone who made them feel important or as someone who got a lot of texts or spent a lot of time on my computer? Will they remember me as I do my grandparents, as I think of my father or other key people in my life (especially my childhood)? (Ironic that I empty my thought process about this on my laptop. don't you think?)

Technology, while great in aspects, is robbing us of relationship, of ability to communicate with those that are closest to us. Yes, it has given us the ability to correspond so much easier with people we love who aren't so near (in my case, to keep in touch with my dear cousins in Norway or Italy and to keep up with the incredible tales my cousin writes here or. personally, here. It also helps me to keep in touch with you all and make new and dear friends but, should it take priority over snuggling with a child wrapped in a fuzzy blanket learning all about giant squids or sharing a playground story or classroom antics or even something as simple as a walk along the river, watching the ice break up and sharing a peanut butter sandwich - uniterrupted by the buzzes, dings, song alerts and chirps our phones, bluetooths (teeth ? grin) make - reminding us of our importance to the world.

Odd that my ramblings would sway this way when I began on the thoughts of legacy but, perhaps, it is because I long for my children to remember me (moments, laughter, connections) and not a mom whose connections where wireless or wired-in and I certainly don't wish for them to remember me with fondness of words like, "Ah, Mom, yeah, remember how she was always on her phone or computer? Remember how quick she was to respond to texts or to stop doing what she was to run and check her email? Yeah, those were the days.". 

 Instead, I want to be remembered in ways I remember those people special to me: sitting in the warmth of the sun beside my granny, tipping and tailing beans talking about everything and nothing but just being, uninterrupted, beside her; going for walks with my grandpa and being so tired he had to carry me home; sitting as a pre-teen in the same chair as my dad and having it tip over, us stranded, legs swinging in the air attempting to resuce ourselves while laughing too hard to succeed...lazy days in the summer heat, laying on a blanket, a border collie cross laying across my back watching lady bugs scurry and birds fly listening to the sounds of my hard-working father and grandfather in the field, checking the time every so often so I knew when the moment was right to get my horse to take lunch and drinks out to them and sit between them basking in the love I have for them and they for me as they smelled like sweat, dust, gas, wheat and tractor...

My cell phone and my computers (yes, computers) all have power buttons, silence options and I have the ability to ignore. I know I do, I opted to use that option far too often with my dad when I was a teenager. I opt to use those options again. Yes, the world has changed since my childhood and some of those memories are not probable for my children to have of  theirs but they can be similar inspite of their differences...the feelings, the security, the warmth, the love...

My legacy will not be of one tied to an outside world as though it were my lifeline. My legacy will be one of family and love and God and mercy and relationships as though they were my lifelines because they truly are...I will use technology as my tool not as though I am ruled by it. Exercise is good for you and so, I encourage you to exercise your right to power off your technology or to excerise your ignore option in order to create unwavering bonds with the ones who are right in front of you...technology has its place, let's remember to keep it there as a tool for us to use as we need it...

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