Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of legacy I want to leave behind for my children and grandchildren. I think of my cad who left us all a wonderful legacy by the way he lived his life.
Dad worked in a cotton mill as a weaver most of his life. I spent most of my growing-up years under his nurturing; he was the original Mr. Mom. My mom was a hairdresser who worked long hours so the cooking and childcare were mostly his domain despite his working full-time. He loved to cook and would always make me a hot meal when I came home for lunch, and always there would be a special treat to go along with it.
As I sit and reflect this morning I realize I never heard him complain, despite the fact that my older brother created havoc in our home and was constantly at odds with my dad and mother. Dad would work his eight-hour shift and then come home to cook dinner, clean up the kitchen, help me with my homework, and then often be the one to get me to bed. He also made sure to check in on his elderly mother daily.
I loved spending time with him, and he never seemed to grow impatient with my endless questions. Dad loved to fish and would take me ice fishing with him in the winter. He transported me to and from art classes every Saturday morning for years, and marveled at every “great” piece of art I produced. He called me Cinderella and always told me I was the biggest blessing in his life.
In his later years he lost both legs from the knees down due to complications from diabetes, and quickly learned how to walk with prostheses. Still, I never heard him complain; instead, he praised God that he had his eyesight. When he could’ve sat home feeling sorry for himself, he chose instead to take lunch to a dear friend who had MS. I always saw him put the needs and feelings of others before his own.
He came to live with us in his final years and was an amazing witness of unconditional love to my children. I can still see him sitting on the edge of his bed barely able to breathe, and the way his face broke into a big smile when our first-grade daughter Jenny came bouncing into his room. She would come in with her hairbrush, sit down on his bed, and say, “Grandpa can you brush my hair?” and he would lovingly brush her curly hair.
My Dad was a reflection of his heavenly father in many ways. He lived out his faith and always put action behind words. He lived the Beatitudes and taught me that seeking God’s face and serving others was the way to live.
I think of him often, even though he has been gone almost 28 years, because he taught us so much. He taught us to love unconditionally, to cherish each and every moment, to be ourselves, and to take risks. Mostly he taught me to love God and to love others. I am so thankful that he is now whole, fishing in heaven with Jesus, and that I have the hope of one day seeing him again. My life is blessed because I was loved so deeply.
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Cindie Thomas is a wife, mother of three young adults and Gram to five amazing grandchildren. She is a life coach, writer, and speaker who longs to minister to women who are struggling and want to find contentment in their lives. http://musingsfromthegram.typepad.com/a_circle_of_three/
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