Family Life: How Will I Be Remembered
by Diane Burton
Each month, my local book group chooses a book to read and discuss. Although it’s a casual group—and we do talk about more than the designated book—our leader always has great discussion questions, some from the library from which we get our books, others she comes up with. Our discussions are often lively. Not everyone agrees or even enjoys the book, which is okay by me. That diversity makes for thoughtful discussions.
For March, we’re reading Mitch Albom’s Have a Little Faith: A True Story. While I’m not fond of nonfiction, I’d read other books he’d written (e.g., Tuesdays With Morrie) and knew I’d enjoy this book. I wasn’t disappointed. The story came about after the rabbi from Albom’s New Jersey childhood home asked him to do his eulogy. Albom had moved to Detroit and other than returning home for holy days, he hadn’t talked to his old rabbi in years. Honored but perplexed by the request, Albom visited his rabbi many times, trying to understand him in order to write that eulogy. The visits delved into many hard and delightful issues of faith.
One of those issues is how he would be remembered.
That resonated with me. As we age, we become introspective. How will people remember me? What events in my life shaped the person I’ve become? I’m not the person I was in my twenties, thirties, or even sixties. I haven’t done spectacular things. I’ve worked at a variety of jobs, but jobs don’t define me as a person.
I hope I’ll be remembered as a storyteller, that I wrote 15+ books, that I was a long-time volunteer. Parts of me but not me.
Three years ago, our son and his family moved to the town we’d moved to four years before to be close to our daughter and her family. For the first time in over twenty years, we all lived in close proximity. Prior to our move, we (or they) traveled from Michigan to Indianapolis or Arizona for visits. A week or even a month’s visit didn’t allow us to really get to know our grandkids (or our adult children, for that matter). Nor did it allow them to get to know us. That all changed when we moved close to each other.
“Who are those people?” our son asked his sister on one visit. Yep, we weren’t the parents they’d grown up with. As grandparents, we’ve changed. I have more patience with the little ones plus more time. I don’t have to clean, do laundry, prepare dinner, or any of the myriad chores I did as a young mother. Those chores would be there after the kiddies left. I make time to read to them, play/teach board and card games. Although I can’t get down on the floor (I could get down but getting up is problematic. 😊 ), I can still play with them. I show them pictures and tell stories about when their mother or dad were young. Taking my oldest granddaughter to lunch and just chatting is so much fun I can’t wait until the others are older to do the same.
My favorite time of any day is the little ones’ enthusiastic greetings, the launching themselves against my legs, the climbing on my lap, the snuggles. As they grow older, their lives are filled with their own activities.
We try to go to their concerts, dance performances, sports’ games. Sometimes, our health prevents that, but they say they understand and know we’d be there if we could. If one of us can’t, the other tries.
Not everyone is as fortunate as I am. We often moved away from our parents because of Hubs’ jobs. Economics plays a big part in whether families can live close. My heart goes out to my friends whose children live far away from them—often on opposite sides of the country. While we did a lot of traveling to visit our children and their families, it was never easy. So living close by, being involved in their daily lives is such a blessing.
That’s how I want to be remembered, as the grandmother who made time for them, the one who tried to go to all their activities and cheered them on, the one who loved them beyond measure. How grateful I am that circumstances have allowed me to be present in their lives.
About the Author
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series.
She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan.
They have two children and five grandchildren. For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website. Connect with Diane online at her blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and on Pinterest. Sign up for Diane’s new release alert.
You can read Diane’s “Family Life” column on the 3rd Wednesday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.