Sunday, April 1, 2012

Flowers From My Father

Legacy, sung by Nicole Nordeman

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who's-who and so-n-so's that used to be the best
At such-n-such... it wouldn't matter much

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

(refrain:) I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I don't have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthly list of all that I enjoy
It's an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy

Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, "Well Done" good and faithful one...



I have loved this song since I first heard it. 
It vocalized (much more eloquently written and beautifully sung than I could have) 
the passion I feel about my place in this family, in this spot in history, in this world.

The fact is everyone will leave some legacy.
We each get to determine of what kind.

Legacy is defined by Mirriam-Webster as
1. a gift by will especially of money or other personal property
2. something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past 

Do you know anyone that isn't toting through this world "something...received from...the past?" 
We all leave a legacy, just like we each started life with one. 
It's part of the thread of humanness that we all share.

I am who I am today because of all that went on before me.

Some person or event sent a red-haired Irish boy to Canada.
An illegitimate baby, adopted by her grandparents, 
was raised nearby.

They raised a family and lived through many trials, together.

In a different part of Ontario, the nurse and 
the handsome, young man met, 
fell in love, and entered into a marriage rife with in-law pressures, and The War.

Their short marriage didn't take them into old age together, 
but they raised two kids the best they could.

A blind date to a Nurses' Valentine Dance didn't go all that well by some reports, but it nudged two lives from different sides of the literal track on a path that included a walk down an church aisle.

That young couple's moves to Nova Scotia, South Carolina and then Michigan changed the direction and hearts of my parents before I was ever in the picture.

The four siblings ahead of me helped determine the direction of 
the parenting that molded me as a kid.

Before I knew I was a part of the Moorehead Clan, the Moorehead Clan was shaping the legacy I was to receive when I entered this world on March 26, in 19-wouldn't-you-like-to-know.

There are a b'zillion facets of why I am the who I am. 
 Two obvious facets would be Mom and Dad--you know, the two that have truly been there for me since the to speak.

According to Mom, she really didn't know what she was doing 
and she's just not sure why the five of us kids "turned out okay."
Dad didn't have anything to say about the matter when I asked him tonight.
Mom usually comes back to the fact that "it's just the grace of God." 
She's right, but it's also "just the grace of God" for Him to be true to His Word 
and bless faithful parents with the fruit they labor toward. 

*I know it doesn't always happen that way. Sometimes, some of us kids is just too stubborn~
Then God gives what we ask for leaving our parents and others who love us to lumber through the pain we've chosen by our actions.* 

Thinking on the Legacy with which I was gifted, 
I made some general observations about my parents' parenting:

They taught each of us that Family Matters.

Do everything you can to attend funerals and weddings.

You don't have to like what is given to you, 
but you can be grateful.

Respect your elders. Be a respectable elder.

A Good Life is still Hard. 
Life is Not Fair.

Work Hard.
"A man on his feet is worth two on his seat."

Work Together.
"Many hands make light work."

You may fight with your sibling, 
but you will always fight for them.

Laughter is necessary for survival. 
Jokes should never leave someone hurt.

Keep your bad habits outside the house.

Be generous with anything you own.
Money is "made round to go 'round."

Guests are just family that live elsewhere, 
so treat them that way.

Before you fall in love,  take a long, hard look at 
your future wife's mother/your future husband's dad. 
Your spouse will one day become that person.

You don't have to remember your child's name 
if you call her, "Babe," or call him, "Son." 

When you leave the nest, you leave the nest.

Don't spend more money than you have.

God is Faithful. Always.

I'm quite certain my three (older) brothers and (older) sister could give you a few more things that we were taught. There were the things that weren't taught...but like it's been said, were "caught." 

How many mornings did I come down the stairs to see Mom's open Bible beside her coffee cup on the dining room table?
How many times did I see Dad take a $20 out of his wallet and press it, with a handshake, into the palm of a man with a young family?
How many times did I hear Dad tease Mom that "She's a great ol' Gal" as he chuckled and poked her ribs and she dodged and rolled her eyes?
How many young mommas learned how to diaper, or soothe, or feed a baby by spending time with Mom?
How many kids have gone coast to coast in the USA because their parents wanted them to see the vastness of this great Land we call ours? and how many of them did it with a camper and station wagon filled with 8 people?
How many crocheted dish rags, and knitted baby sweaters, and mittens, and homemade doll clothes and Christmas pajamas and Matchy-matchy Easter dresses came from my mother's hands? 
(and she wonders how she could have carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms!)

I want to leave a similar Legacy.
I want my kids to be able to look back at my daily life and pick out the thing that helped them become.

Mark and I were talking with Jonathan and Courtney just yesterday and we once again realized,
a parent doesn't necessarily know when you're
Making a Memory
that is going to stick with a child.
The insignificant detail becomes a great moment recalled with fondness, while
the time-consuming, well-planned Event is remembered with a shrug of indifference.

My wedding bouquet represented so many of those moments from
Life with my parents.

In it were a few parts and pieces to remind me of where I was coming from:
the mother of pearl necklace Dad gave Mom for their wedding,
a 1985 penny,
Mom's bridal Bible that she (and my sister) carried in their weddings,
silk tiger lilies and other pieces from the corsage Dad gave me on my first date, with him,
and the ribbons and some dried roses from Mom's bridal bouquet.

Many of the bountiful Flowers I have received from my mother and my father were seeded in my heart and life ~way~ before I knew flowers were there. 
I gather from those garden beds daily, and sometimes I don't even recognize who planted 
the Habits, or the Joys I reap. 

I've been given Flowers from My Father for years before I knew Who sent them.

My thanks is certainly not enough.
But, maybe, their love was.