How to Leave a Legacy
(without really trying)
Lawyer: “So, who saw the turkey?”
Me: “Lee did.”
Lawyer: “And was it close?”
Me: “It was.”
Lawyer: “And what happened when he saw the turkey?”
Me: “He jumped out of the Razor with excitement and went for his gun.”
Lawyer: “And what did you do?”
Me: “I yelled at him to stop! I couldn’t be witness to the murder of a turkey!”
I was convicted right there of single-handedly ruining my child’s only chance at getting a turkey this hunting season.
His very first kill as a huntsman.
Turkey hunting was the primary reason we were staying on this property, a quaint, peaceful, and well-stocked cabin without Wi-Fi, owned by the above mentioned lawyer. It was the perfect place to spend a weekend walking, basking in the sun, and supposedly hunting turkey. The thing was, no turkeys had been spotted in the area for a while. Undeterred, the two men in our family (my husband and 13-year old son) got up early and headed out like two confident, sleepy Elmer Fudds to seek gobblers. Not surprisingly, there were none.
I told them I would call in the turkeys with my mind. (This is not an unusual statement from me.)
A few hours later, once the sun had warmed the air, Lee and I decided to hop in the Razor and drive around the property. He was an excellent tour guide and loved driving this motorized vehicle through rough terrain.
That’s when it happened. A turkey was practically walking beside us.
“I told you I could call them in with my mind!” I shouted elatedly.
Despite the turkey being right there, the debacle noted above in my cross-examination quickly unfolded.
I haven’t heard the end of that story. I suspect I never will.
It’s all part of my legacy.
The little stories and lessons that others remember about me simply because I was a part of the action.
It was her story, her memories, her legacy.
It donned on me after I took the notebook home and read it that our legacies are cumulative. They are, for most intents and purposes, formed daily. You just never know what people will remember about you. What stories will stick? What will others remember? What will those remembrances say about your character or your personality?
Daily occurrences, planned or not, become that epic story – the legend that lives on and gets better with every telling.
Like the time I rushed into Ash Wednesday mass with a preschooler – my son, age 4.
On this particular day, though not unlike any other day, my child was not keen on going to mass, following my rules or sitting quietly for a long period of time. Luckily, I was prepared and had brought along church-forbidden snacks, books (totally for show), and a Magna Doodle, which is a rudimentary tablet with a magnetized writing utensil.
During the first part of mass, my son ate all his snacks while the Catholic ladies eyed us disapprovingly. I tried to convince myself this was better than him wiggling around and “accidentally” bumping into them like a pinball machine. When the snacks ran out, he grabbed the doodle pen. I relaxed slightly. He looked so smart and creative with his little tablet. Redemption on Ash Wednesday was mine! Now these women could admire his quietude and bookish nature. I had just taught him to write short words too!
“Look mom!” came the loud request from hip height.
“SShhh,” I snapped, eyes widening.
Then I saw what he had written, much later than everyone else in our pew, as he flung the tablet about.
I immediately erased his written epiphany with a swoop of the orange handle and incited a cacophonous revolt.
How could I erase his masterpiece?!
His very first sentence?
The women were now blatantly staring at me and silently begging me to take him away.
I hustled up the aisle of shame to the cry room where I quickly dove in with relief.
My son ramped it up just in case he could get his volume to penetrate what I hoped was noise-proof glass.
This smart and creative kid (clearly with a sense of humor) was foiled by his mother. As documented above, it wouldn’t be the last time.
He had created a work of art and I had eradicated it without thought.
So, take heart this Mother’s Day.
As your family relives epic parenting failures, like the time you foiled the great turkey hunt or the time you eradicated their first written sentence without any appreciation of their effort, know that they recount these stories lovingly.
Despite those loving foibles, they also secretly know you are a tireless cheerleader, chauffeur, counselor, ally and nag.
By being you and living your days the best way you know how, you are leaving a legacy; most of the time, without even trying.
And take comfort in those moments you thought you could support your child in murdering a turkey – but couldn’t. There are comfort foods like this one that will help ease everyone’s wounds.
Comfort food is balm for the soul.
Just like a mom.
A COMFORTING RECIPE
This recipe is super easy and absolutely yummy! The flavor is rich and it helps the spinach go down (for those with spinach aversion like my kiddo).