Dear Maia and Noah,
This blog is for you. Not just this post, but the whole accidentally thought out thing, warts and treasures and all. Some parents create elaborate scrapbooks for their children to capture precious growing up memories. I’ve seen some of these albums, and they are splendiferous works of artistic perfection.
I am deeply sorry to report that you have not been so blessed.
Your mom is simply not creative enough or patient enough for such crafty pursuits. But she’s using the technological talents she does have to make sure that someday, you’ll look back on your childhood and know just how much you were loved. For starters, in place of cleverly designed scrapbooks, your technophile mother keeps up a personal website for showing off photos to far-flung family and friends. Your unprecedented adorableness has been admired around the globe, and every iteration of that website from Maia’s infancy on has been archived for your own future viewing pleasure.
And your mom’s inner writer also keeps up this online blog of ramblings and reflections, for many reasons, not the least of which is for you.
When I started this blogging experiment, I had no idea what I would write about. It was just supposed to be a temporary outlet to rejuvenate my dormant writing ambitions and get me in the habit of writing regularly, on my own time. Then a funny thing happened. I got readers. Some whom I invited, and others who found me on their own. People started encouraging me with positive feedback (some might say they fed my aspiring author’s ego), and your grandfather began asking if I was saving these stories for you to read someday. And before I knew it, you became the purpose behind much of what I write here. So often, you provide the content, and I am merely the scribe, picking and choosing the right words to relate your escapades. The rest I write knowing that you will read it one day. When you do, you’ll find an eclectic mix. Some of my stories are about you, some chronicle those silly little events of daily life that would otherwise be lost to the ages, some are about my own memories and life experiences, and some will probably teach you a little more about your befuddled, bemused, absent-minded mom—her interests, her sense of humor, and the person she tries to be.
Someday, when I’ve written enough, I’ll be weeding out the duds from this endeavor and self-publishing the rest in book format. It will be a tangible legacy to you of the things I found important enough, or funny enough, or endearing enough to write about. It will be something that, eventually, you’ll be able to remember me by. It’s not why I started this blog, but by golly, it’s why I’m sticking with it.
Of course, this blog legacy must remain hidden from you until you are much, much older. After all, I can’t have your innocent young eyes reading about things like the time I snuck out of my house, or the trickery by which I ensnared my first real boyfriend, or the post which spills the beans about Santa, or the one about your mother as a hot babe, or any of the myriad deceptions we have pulled off on you (tuna fish as butter, anyone?) during your tender formative years.
But there is so much more to what we want for you than what you will find in this blog. Your dad and I hope for so many things for your lives. We want to equip you with the knowledge and self-esteem to make wise choices in life and to be happy with those choices, but we also want you to know that while we will hold you accountable for your decisions, we’ll still love you even through the mistakes. We want you to appreciate the value of an education, and practice lifelong learning. We want you to always be willing to lend a helping hand. We want you to see first-hand what a committed, loving marriage looks like. We want you to look back on a happy home life filled with traditions and fond childhood memories. We want you to see the positive around you, rather than the negative. We want you to share our system of values, attitudes, and beliefs. We want you to love God. And we are trying to set an example for you on all of these things—an example of responsibility, love, loyalty, and kindness.
Our legacy to you doesn’t begin or end with your father and me, however. We also want you to know something of your heritage and culture—both your paternal Irish side (a few generations back) and the Spanish side from my own father. And we want to pass down to you the same things our parents gave to us. I attribute a lot of who I am to my own parents’ teachings and guiding example. They have instilled in me a strong work ethic and an insatiable desire to learn. They made me believe I could do anything I wanted, if I set my mind to it. Because of their influence, I know how to make the most of the opportunities available to me. I’m a doer, not a victim of circumstance. You will be, too. And your daddy’s family legacy, passed down from his parents, is an environment filled with sports, music, laughter, and fun.
So far, I think we’ve been mostly successful in providing the foundation for your future. One need only look back on the stories I’ve already written about you here to make that case. You are both beautiful spirits—loving, affectionate, kind, caring, smart, and respectful of authority. Everyone you come in contact with sings your praises. We can’t take all the credit, since often it’s in spite of our influence, rather than because of it, and I sometimes suspect that you are really angels in disguise, sent by God, but we’ll accept the compliments and keep bragging about you all the same.
However, I would be remiss in not mentioning that along with the good, there is the bad. Not all legacy is desirable, I’m afraid. Your mother? She’s not such a good housekeeper. And judging by the current state of your rooms, neither are the two of you. Here’s a fair warning… I might have to pull this trick on you one day. You can blame your Ama for THAT legacy. And your father? He might be a little OCD about checking that the stove is off, things are unplugged, and the doors are locked. When you find yourselves reciting the daily mantra, “turn things off, lock things up” to your respective spouses as you kiss them goodbye each morning, well, you know who to thank for that harmless obsession.
We’ve made some mistakes with you along the way, too. There have been examples too numerous to count where I have unintentionally hurt your young psyches. Times where I have been impatient or angry, when instead, I should have turned the source of frustration into a teaching opportunity. Times when I have made other things more important than spending quality time with you. Times when I have said “not now” or “in a minute” or “maybe later.” Times when I have adopted an attitude or used a tone of voice that I later regretted.
But despite the parenting faux pas, it’s our hope, as your role models, that the good we do for you outweighs the bad. That the memories trump the mistakes. That the legacy we leave behind for you is something worth passing down to your own future generations. And above all, we want you to know that we always have and always will love you enough to rave about you to the world.
Maia and Noah, this blog, and all our love, is for you.
This letter was originally posted on April 26, 2006, under the title My legacy to you. Please see the original post to leave comments.