Submitted by: Dauna Easley
Legacy is only a six letter word, but its significance has the power of ten thousand words. Leaving a legacy causes us to ask important questions. “What matters most?” “How will I be remembered?” Sometimes the most meaningful legacy we can create is accomplished in the most ordinary ways.
During all the years my two daughters were growing up, I was a busy teacher. I loved my career in the teaching profession and I took my role seriously. This meant that my weekends were filled with laundry, shopping for groceries and school supplies, grading papers, and running errands I couldn’t accomplish during the school week. My weekdays were largely focused on meeting the needs of other people’s children or driving my own daughters to their events.
However, just about the time that my youngest daughter, Kelsey, became a preteen, every once in a while she’d pose a question.
Mom, can we have a robe day?
This question was usually voiced on a weekend morning while we were still in our robes and I was thinking about all the things I had to accomplish that day. Only gradually did I begin to understand what robe day meant to Kelsey. Robe day meant that we were not going to be rushing off to go anywhere. Who runs errands in their robe? Robe day meant we were going to stay home…together…all day…in our coziest uniform.
The first challenge of robe day was that I’d have to shut off the mental to-do list screaming in my head. That list shrieked at me like a smoke detector next to a bonfire. When was I going to accomplish all this important stuff on my HAVE to-do list? Usually changing my plan was the most difficult hurdle I encountered. Once I finally quieted my mind and committed myself to robe day, I could feel my stress level decrease. But I’ll admit the surrender didn’t come easily.
Mom, can we have a robe day?
On robe day we would crank the music up several notches. We would dust and dance together. We’d bake cookies. We’d simply hang out around the house. Nothing too special was ever planned. Today they’d call it ‘chillin’. We’d pop popcorn and watch her favorite movie Pretty in Pink one more time…together. No cheating. I had to sit next to her and watch it with her. Two people watching made the power of the experience so much more significant. You and me became we.
Robe day really meant, “I need you, Mom. I need you all to myself.” It took the dress code to make it happen. One really good robe day could fuel us both for a month or more.
I’ve taught children from preschool age right up through high school seniors. They all spell the word love the same way. ‘L-O-V-E’ is spelled ‘T-I-M-E’ by our offspring. What children crave most from parents…is our time. High school seniors often won’t say so, but that same need lurks there just below the surface. They try to act cool and aloof, but look deeper just beneath the façade. How many forty-year-old adults have we heard say, “My dad never came to my games.” Decades later it still hurts. Why is it that time seems to be what we parents lack most?
This important “life truth” comes from my personal experience, so listen closely. The day after they leave for college, you’ll want nothing more than to hang out in your robe with them. Unfortunately in Kelsey’s case, she didn’t leave for college. She left us for the cemetery. The older I become the more I cherish the memory of those priceless days together in our robes. In hindsight I wonder why I wasn’t the one who had the wisdom to ask for robe days? I’m so grateful that my wise daughter did.
Do you have a meaningful activity you share with a loved one? A child, grandchild or elderly parent? Share it with us in the comment section.