Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bequests To Give Our Children

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots, the other is wings.
----Hadding Carter

I like to think of my time with my child before her death as a nourishing time for her. I am proud of what she was and believe that how she was brought up and steering her in the right direction is what, to this day, makes her memorable to others. Her friends and family always came first. Her thoughtfulness, I always admitted, even exceeded mine.

I remember her wedding and the reception, which was held at a beautiful hotel. First was the cocktail party…but Marcy and her husband were no where to be seen. I began to worry when 45 minutes later they appeared, holding hands and a huge smile across their faces.

“Where were you?” I questioned her, a little angry, but certainly curious.

“We stopped in the dining room to make sure everything was okay with the tables, the decorations and the name cards,” she said, and I discovered that they put Dad’s table (we were divorced) closer to the head table than yours.” “I thought you’d be upset, so I switched the cards. I knew Dad wouldn’t care.”

“You’re right,” I laughed. "I probably would have been upset." Cute, I thought to myself.

That followed through with everything she did. Ever thoughtful of others and not wanting to upset anyone, she always made sure that if she had Thanksgiving dinner with me one year, the following year it was with her father. Fair is fair she would say, and I definitely agreed and had no problem with that.

Another incident made me understand more than anything what she was about. Before she married she lived with a girlfriend and they had gone out to purchase a lamp for the apartment. Marcy was going to pay for it, but the friend insisted on paying, since Marcy had been letting her stay rent-free until she got a job. When her friend was called a few days later and told she had won $1 million dollars from a VISA charge contest (she had charged the lamp on her VISA), Marcy was so pleased for her.

“I’m curious,” I asked my daughter. “Aren’t you just a little jealous that she won all that money when the lamp was going to be on your credit card originally?”

“Oh, no,” she said. “My friend really needed the money, and I’m glad for her.” As I looked at Marcy, I only saw pure happiness for her friend. There was not an ounce of jealousy in her. How proud I was. What a fine human being I brought into this world. There was always something that made me proud of her whether it was in school, at work or in a social situation.

Let them do whatever they want with their lives; that was always my philosophy. If she wanted to be an actress (at one time that was a possibility), a doctor, an accountant like her father, or just get married and be a housewife…as long as she was happy, I didn’t worry about her choices. Where some parents may try to direct their children or worse, tell them what they should do, I was confident Marcy would do the right thing. She was ambitious and wanted a career in addition to a husband and family. I sensed that and let her have her own wings. It was completely her decision as far as I was concerned.

At one point she announced one day after graduating college that she was going to move to New York to be close to her boyfriend who was going to work there soon in the financial sector. Even though her heart was set to have a career in advertising and start in Los Angeles, she was a woman in love and willing to follow her man. I didn’t really approve but, like a good mother, said, “Okay, if that’s what you want.” At the last moment he changed his mind; she got angry and moved to L.A. without him and got an advertising job her first day there. He ended up following her to L.A., but the relationship never worked out. Why do I remember that so well? Because Marcy bought me a card saying how loved I was by her and wrote at the bottom, “Thanks for letting me make my own decisions and my own mistakes. You’re the best mom in the world.” I still have that card 25 years later.

I choose to believe and it warms my heart to think that through these and other examples in Marcy’s life, I gave her the needed roots and let her soar.

1 comment:

  1. A Marcy memory: House sitting for you. Marcy and I had a couple of days in the house together before she headed out to her destination. We stood together for a minute in front of the tropical fish and I said, "Marcy, they are SO cool!" And in the light of the aquarium, I saw her smile as we gazed at the fish. And then she grinned and whispered, "Don't tell Mom I told you this, but I think I'd rather do the dishes in the morning." :)