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Entries in collage (1)

Sunday
Mar232014

What I Want to Pass On

One recent Friday afternoon had me off to visit a friend who owns a garden center and farm.  The store hadn’t opened, and we were able to enjoy some wrap sandwiches in the quiet before the place opened for the season.  He’s a sensitive man, one who tries to stay self-aware while facing the same issues as the rest of us.

I was feeling rather melancholy.  I’m packing for a move to the next town, and rather than feel upbeat I was down.  I need to do a little downsizing, and so every object was up for consideration for toss or donate.  The issue is many objects come with memories….and while the memories don’t get donated the items may.  It was just bittersweet.

After finishing lunch, we started to walk around his greenhouse as he showed me the new store layout and some new products.

On one greenhouse table had a tattered piece of paper with pictures….family pictures.  I asked him what it signified.

He smiled.  “That’s the reason I keep going.” 

Hold on.  He just said something I’ve felt and never said aloud.  With my kids grown and off on their own lives, I sometimes feel my work here is complete.  Look in nature…once the young bucks are of age the old bucks are put out to pasture.  It’s a sad thought, and one I tend to not dwell on as it could take me to a very negative place. 

“I found I doubted my life purpose with my kids grown.  And I put together a collage of the things I want to do with my kids and grandkids.”

He then proceeded to quickly take me through his collage, explaining each picture.

I hopped on the idea.  “There’s a blog post in here.  Would you share your picture?  I can write it up.”  He agreed, and over the next few days had many reasons why the picture wasn’t forthcoming.

Then it struck me.  My friend would do anything for me.  And he is again.  He’s telling me it’s not his story I should write about.  It’s my story.  A-ha! 

So I’ve put together the attached collage for things I want to make sure I pass through the generations.  It’s not all encompassing, just a start at something.  I do believe a bucket list is a decent thing to have, although most are internally focused and arguably selfish.  This is somewhat a bucket list for my family…things I need to make sure I pass on through the generations.

Here are the explanations for my choices:

  • The lighthouse depicts solid, safety, always there, knowledge, and guiding others.  This is where the importance of being honest and ethical live, along with the value of education. 
  • The kids on the inner tube are about family fun times.  Some of the best times my kids and I had are on a lake with some sandwiches.  I once called my kids and asked about their favorite childhood memory, and both said it was time at the lake.  Not some amusement park or expensive destination vacation.  Simple family time at the lake.  It is also a reminder to teach children to swim.
  • The view to the harbor from a restaurant is to remind about enjoying the fruits of your labor.  While this picture was taken from inside a restaurant (75 on Liberty in Boston), the view from outside the window is ‘free.’
  • The Boston Strong runner (my daughter) is a reminder to support your family no matter what the diversity.  She was running the Boston Marathon in 2013, with her parents and family at the finish line.  She’s running again this year as a charity numbered runner.  And I will be there.
  • The lake picture is a reminder of the simple things.  This is a picture of Winnisquam Lake in New Hampshire.  This is the same lake where the inner tube picture was captured. 
  • The treehouse signifies building things with your children, and the neighbors may come over to help.  This picture is of a friend’s treehouse, which put the ones I made for my kids to shame.
  • Little Lea’s picture signifies the future.  Babies are about hope.
  • The chimney making a perfect landing in a car sunroof is a reminder to always find the good things to laugh about in any circumstance.  On this item, no person was hurt, and a MIT graduate class in engineering couldn’t have toppled a chimney with better aim.
  • My mom and dad represent respect for where you came from…my parents are now gone, and the process of packing has helped to unearth some photo gems.
  • The kids playing cards is another reminder of the importance of family fun time.
  • And the saying?  The saying stands on its own.

After putting this together, I was struck by the wisdom of my friend who quietly nudged me to do my own collage (without ever saying so).  I was also surprised by what is NOT on the collage.

There is no mention of work, taxes, etc.  That’s significant, especially where we spend so much time working.   It’s a reminder to me we should work to live, not live to work.

What’s on your collage?