Daily Archives: October 10th, 2009

Our Legacy, Our Heartsong

When my daughter, Abbey, was about 12 years old, she came to me with a very worried look on her face. I asked her what the matter was. She pointed to her neck and with an absolutely horrified look asked, “What do you think THIS is?” After an experienced motherly investigation of her neck, I calmly replied. “It’s dirt.” I believe Abbey began a new personal hygiene regimen that day. And I am proud to have been a part of it; I’m sure her husband very much appreciates it today!

My daughter recently celebrated her 26th birthday! So today I want to celebrate mothers and daughters! There is nothing in life like the mother-daughter relationship. A mother teaches her daughter to be a woman. She passes on the joy of family, of relationships, of being a woman and making a purposeful mark on the world. Every woman is a daughter.

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” ~Rajneesh

A STRONG LEGACY

“Of all the haunting moments of motherhood, few rank with hearing your own words come out of your daughter’s mouth.” ~Victoria Secunda

I often hear Abbey saying my silly words: “whatserschnauzer” or “oh, my stars!” You have your own list of “mom sayings”. We do want to leave a true legacy for future generations, not just the silly words or phrases we often say. The definition of legacy is something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past.

A local funeral home used to run this commercial on the radio:
“Memories are a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, and the things you never want to lose. Remembering a summer rose in December, or the laughter of a child. The flicker in your eyes when you see an old photo. Memories of family and friends are our own books – the stories that celebrate the wonder that is life. EVERY LIFE LEAVES A LEGACY.”

What kind of legacy will we leave? One way to leave a meaningful legacy is to keep remembrances of the milestones in our lives. In Exodus 16:32 Moses said, “This is God’s command: ‘Keep a two-quart jar of it, an omer, for future generations so they can see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness after I brought you out of Egypt.'” (manna)

I have a little velvet drawstring bag that belonged to my great Grandmother. I specifically asked for it when she passed away. Inside are little trinkets from her childhood, meaningless when they were new but priceless to me generations later. I had my sister in law make two bags just like it … one for me and one for Abbey. At Abbey’s bridal shower last year I gave a talk about the faith and strength of the women who came before her in our family and gave Abbey her own “omer bag.” I put a couple of trinkets in it to get her started. She will have a lifetime to decide what to put in it. The second bag was for me. It will be part of my legacy to my daughter and her daughters and their daughters.

A HEARTSONG

So after all this legacy-building, we eventually send them off into the world to be those happy, healthy, confident, giving PEOPLE we dreamed for them to be. But they can’t just remember where they came from, they have to know where they’re going.

“We mothers are learning to mark our mothering success by our daughters’ lengthening flight.” ~ Letty Cottin Pogrebin

I also want to give my daughter a good start on her “heartsong.” I love this word/phrase! What is a heartsong? Some might call it a mission or purpose. But Mattie Stepanek more accurately used the term your heartsong. Mattie was the young boy who many of us came to know on The Oprah Show before he died in 2004. One day, Mattie was talking to his mom and he had on a sweatshirt with a music maker sewn inside. As he leaned across the table, it activated and a melody came out. He said, “Mommy, listen! That’s my heartsong!” He later defined a heartsong as, “what we are called to offer others … what we hope to be remembered for.”

Your heartsong gets you through the tough times. If you are overwhelmed or tired, it gives you confidence, and makes you act. Abbey, I hope your heartsong reminds you of the confident, joyful being God created you to be. And I hope it reminds all of us to be inspired by our own lives and heartsongs … enough to inspire others, and especially our daughters. Our legacy and heartsong have everything to do with theirs.

“Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your children’s children.” Deut. 4:9

“Future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to generations yet unborn— for he has done it.” Psalm 22: 30b-31

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