What Is Your Legacy?

I’m sitting in the dining room at the home of my 87 and 88 year old parents. The table is laden with an Italian frittata, Arugula salad, crusty bread warm from the oven, an assortment of olives, fresh fruit, and of course Biscotti.

My mother sits at one end of the table, My father at the other. I’m squeezed in next to my mother so I’m able to jump up into the kitchen when needed.

The air sizzles with love.

My folks were hairstylists. For over 30 years they owned a salon on the north side of Chicago. Five of their former employees also sit at the table. They are sharing stories. Laughing, crying, eating. Laughing, crying, eating.

They flew to Arizona from Chicago and Philadelphia. Five women creating a sacred circle of honor paying homage to two elders.

I sit. Mostly silent. Witnessing. The salt of my tears adding a new flavor to the meal we share.

These girls, now grown women, recall tales of salon life. Woven throughout “shop talk” they speak of why they have made this pilgrimage.

This is what I hear.

Each of them speaks of love. Gratitude.

For being surrogate parents. For teaching them how to dress, walk, talk, how to communicate. For providing them with a loving stable safe environment.  A haven where they were able to grow, fall down, trusting that their mentors, my mother and father, would always hold out a helping hand. Pick them up. Dust them off. Embrace them. Send them back on their way.

These women speak of the values they learned. How they have consciously attempted to instill these same values in their own children. In their grandchildren.

Old fashion values – respect, integrity, honesty, work-ethic, family, connection, balance, commitment, discipline, humor, discovery, excellence, truth, humanity, compassion, contribution, wisdom.

Thousands of miles traveled.

To speak out loud while looking into the eyes of their elders. To offer them the gift of knowing that they have provided a legacy.

I gaze around the room. Unshed tears blur my vision. My heart beats softly. A painful tenderness pulses in the center of my chest.

Today I write with poignant gratitude. Inviting deep contemplation.

I sit in wonder. For you. For me. I ask myself, what is my legacy?

My friends I ask you. What is your legacy? 

I would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts on your own legacy.

With Love,

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